The first rule of Jury Duty is that you do not talk about Jury Duty.
Apparently the whole process is secret until the verdict has been reached. I, of course, forgot about this and sent a text message about the case to someone who was not in Jury Duty. I think this is okay since I was not chosen for the Jury.
The second rule of Jury Duty is that even though someone is accused of a crime, even though there is enough evidence that the State plans to prove that this person has committed a kidnapping and a sexual assault and child abuse against three different children, even if this person is suspected of doing all these things, his presence in the courtroom cannot be considered an indication of guilt.
One must keep an open mind after all.
The third rule of Jury Duty is that you have to go, because it is your civic duty.
You can be arrested or fined for missing Jury Duty. Even if your cat wakes you up at 7:30 in the morning because she is sick. And you have to call Dan and get him out of bed and ask him to take aforementioned cat for an emergency vet appointment.
Jury Duty thinks very highly of itself. You get to watch a video that talks about how amazingly lucky you are to have been chosen for Jury Duty. This requires you to forget for a time that the qualifications for Jury Duty are being 18 or older, a citizen, and speaking and understanding English. You have to pretend that you’ve done something important and special to qualify for this once-in-a-lifetime privilege. I guess you also have to forget that you’re called for Jury Duty every year.
I suppose being possessed of an inordinate amount of patience doesn’t hurt. There are hours of waiting to be done today, and you, potential Juror, are qualified to do this waiting. Your mother must be proud.
If you complete your waiting in a commendable manner, you may be allowed to sit in an actual courtroom. In the presence of an actual judge, district attorney, defense attorney and *potential* knife-wielding-kidnapper-rapist-child-abuser, you will be questioned about any detail of your life that is relevant to the case.
Oh wait. I forgot about the part where you will get to introduce yourself to the court, revealing such details as your full name, marital status, occupation and place of work. Hopefully the *potential* knife-wielding-kidnapper-rapist-child-abuser is not taking notes, right?
So what’s relevant to this case? Well, in a case involving kidnapping rape and child abuse, people will be questioned about their own history of sexual and family violence. In a room full of total strangers, they will reveal intimate details about their personal history.
Why do you think your rape wasn’t prosecuted?
Well, my parents were so young, you know? I mean, I wish it had been…
Why didn’t your family go to the police?
They didn’t want to hurt my grandmother by accusing her husband.
So they wanted to deal with it in-house, if you will?
Do you think that those allegations against your brother will affect your ability to listen to this case with an open mind?
I don’t believe so. I think I can distinguish between them.
Your ability to listen, without bias, to the details of kidnapping, rape and child abuse is on trial. It’s sort of like Survivor. Each attorney gets to make six cuts. If you’re too sympathetic or not sympathetic enough, you’re going home.