…didn’t get picked.
I was glad I didn’t get selected, but would not have been disappointed had I been. This wasn’t for a regular trial session jury, but for Grand Jury duty. You would have to report one Thursday per month (more if needed) to decide if the prosecution’s case had merit for trial and if it did, hand down indictments. There are 18 Grand Jurors, 12 picked today for the year of 2008 and 6 returning members from 2007. So, although today’s lucky selectees were chosen to serve for one year, half of them would get held over and serve a second year.
First, all of us assembled in an unused court room and then at the appointed time we were guided into the actual court room. The judge came in and then the Clerk called the role. We were numbered alphabetically, so because my last name starts with a B I was a low number. As the clerk called our number, starting at #1 and going all the way up to #99, we had to stand and say aloud our name. They skipped quite a few numbers/names, leading me to believe some folks had called in with excuses already.
After everyone had sounded off, the clerk informed the judge he had 64 perspective jurors with one no-show. He asked the missing persons name and then told his bailiff to inform the Sheriff’s Office that he wanted a bench warrant issued for that person to be before him next Monday at 9:30. The judge then read a series of questions that if you could answer yes to you might be excused from duty. One person was excused because they had moved to Augusta (last weekend) and two more were excused for medical reasons. There were about a half dozen who had hardships that made it inconvenient to serve once a month and they got swapped into the regular jury pool for a two week session later in the year.
This left about 55 people eligible for the 15 spots (twelve plus three alternates) giving me a 27% chance of getting chosen. Our juror number and names were written on small slips of paper and loaded into a “high tech’ metal box the size of a cigar box and professional shaken up by the Assistant Clerk of Court. The slips of paper were then drawn out one at a time.
The first number called was for a woman seated right behind me. She muttered an expletive under her breath as she made her way up front. The woman sitting next to me went “Oh my,” in mock surprise. I whispered to her, “Yeah, she didn’t seem to happy about that.” About halfway through calling the 12 Grand Jurors, the clerk called out, “Juror number six — ty seven.” My heart skipped a beat there. I figured for sure that I was going to get picked as one of three alternates, but didn’t.
All of us unwanted jurors were directed back to the original room where we were given a written excuse for work and a check for $20.
Thanks Aiken County for buying my wife and I BBQ at Bobby’s for tonight’s dinner.
Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/08: One