Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Prospective Juror's Musings...#0001122868!

You are hereby summoned to serve as a Juror in the Civil or Criminal Courts of
Tarrant County, Texas!

I was summoned to appear Monday, June 6, 2011 to possibly receive a court appointment so I could serve on a Jury.  Ohhh, such dread!  I had to go last year this time, and a couple of years before that, but was not chosen.  So, I grudgingly trudged downtown, anxiously awaiting the humiliating, cattle prodding procedure-and worried that THIS time, THREE could be a CHARM!

7:45 am * they're letting us with the shoes, grab a bucket and put your shoes, purse, men's belts, and extra baubles or bling you might be wearing.  Now, this is understandable, but one lady was real concerned about whether or not the floor had been mopped recently.  She had so much jewelry in her hair and was asked to remove most of it.  I later saw her just sporting a pony tail! 

After going thru some 'make believe' mazed line that went nowhere, we made our way to the large check in room, where, if you're not there before 8:00 am, it's standing room only.  Got checked in, got a seat, and the great wait begins.  Cell phones going off all throughout the room...I can remember when you had to turn them off even a few years ago...time marches on quickly.  At 8:50 am, we're still waiting for the lengthy line of  'would-be-jury-agitators' to try to muzzle their way out of being there.  You're only allowed one time to beg off, which is what I had done in April, by going on line, (I was able to postpone until June) then you must 'bite the bullet' and show up.

9:30 am * roll call, and everyone gets a number to remember.  Then another roll call by your number-only scrambled up.  We were called in groups ranging anywhere from 13 people to 60 prospective jurors.  One #  went missing, so I guess they replaced the person.  Six groups went by, and on the 7th group they switched from numbers to names.  I was in the 7th group of 65 people.  So, what are the odds of me getting picked?  They gave us our court number and the judge's name, and sent us packing, to be in that court by 11:00 am.  Well, a relief for a break, and I had started chilling out some by then.  I hit the snack bar for some chips and a $1.25 bottle of water.  Everything was at least 90 cents.  Called Karo, gave him the scoop, then sat down, of course, with my little green notebook to write!  

10:45 am * I'm upstairs waiting for the next cattle call...and here it comes.  The bailiff calls roll, gives us each yet another number, and proceeds to seat us on church-like benches.  So, I sit gratefully, take out my notebook, and continue to write-after all- I was getting a story, wasn't I?  I just hope those sun-chips hold me for a while.  And the bailiff passes thru our crowd of 65 and picks up our 'boarding passes'.  He, then,  scrambles up our numbers and re-seats us on the benches.  Once that's done, he reads us our 'no cell phones, no reading in the courtroom' act, and proceeds to send us in there by our new numbers.  

Once seated, they give us a birdseye of the case to be presented.  And, not what I wanted to hear!  A horrific situation that has gone on for several years.  And the questioning begins, with 5 attorneys present.  It takes the 1st attorney 1 1/2 hours to question, when the judge finally says, "it's time to break for lunch at 12:30."
"Yes!  We have a lady Judge!"

1:30* Back in the courtroom...the same lawyer-he's not done yet.  So far, I'm not getting called on for any opinions.  I'm trying not to make eye contact with any of the attorneys.  The first attorney finally finishes and we're at break again at 2:40 pm. When we're brought back in the Judge says we may have to stay until after 5:00, because it's taking so long with the questioning.  During this time, they finally get around to me.  The attorney for the defense asks me if I'm a stockbroker...I say "no, I work in operations."  And he asks where I went to college, so I tell him.  Another one asks me if I have any biases concerning the case, and I had to say "No", considering the fact that I was not familiar with the case.  They of course, weren't able to give us the particulars, so, at that point, I had no biases.  But others did, and it does eventually come down to "we will not be able to pick jurors by 5:00.  So at 4:45, all but those with biases are asked to take another break.  I'm still not concerned, but Hey!  One never knows. 
5:05 pm * The bailiff comes out to get us...I had barely sat down, and they are calling off names again-I don't even remember who was calling the names...BUT OMG!!! They called my name loud and clear!!!  My unbelievable name-and they didn't stutter!  AAGGH!!!  This is not "Queen For A Day?"  It's more like "Don't Pass Go-Don't Collect $200.00"!

So, here I am, three days later, sitting on a 12-person jury for the duration of this week, and possibly into a few days next week.  I'm okay with it.  We can't talk about it until it's over, and that's rough.

Photo by Suzanne, June 8, 2011
This is the building we are's 8 stories tall.  A very nice building.  We jurors have been treated with the upmost respect and with much consideration.  The Judge, attorneys, and our wonderful bailiff thank us every day for our time.  And I have already learned so much!  I know that once this is over, I will be grateful for the opportunity and experience, because I will come away from it with my life having been touched!
'When Women are Jurors'
by Charles Dana Gibson * 1902
Very few women served on juries in 1870's Wyoming.  But in the middle of the 20th century, we saw more women serving on juries on a regular basis.  It wasn't until 1954 that a woman was allowed to sit on a jury in the state of Texas.  That woman was Miss Louis Summers, who served with 11 men, and was the forewoman. 

Thank you so much, my gracious readers!  If you haven't noticed yet, there is a new survey at the top of my sidebar.  This comes from Karo!!!  Really, this is HIS survey, but it is legit!!!  Please feel free to could be fun!  And I hope to get with Rusty soon for his exciting updates on the Dallas Mavericks!

Thanks to the Judicial System of America
Thank You downtown Fort Worth, Texas
Thank You Yahoo
Thank You Google
Thank You to my husband Karo and grandson Shawn



  1. Dang it all, you just happened to be their "perfect" juror. Sigh. At least maybe you could take a sketch pad with you? Probably not. Hope it gets through with quickly for the sake of everyone involved.

    Nancy @ Nancy Art Crafts

  2. That was such an interesting post Susan! A real insight into what happens. A long first day for you, while they sorted out who was in or out though.
    Sounds like it's a pretty intensive trial, so you'll be right into the swing of it by now.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, you've a real gift for writing. You include all the little bits and pieces of things that are interesting to others.
    Even though it's taking a big chunk out of your week(s), you're doing a real community service by being there Susan :D)

  3. Nancy, it's day four, and a grueling task. I'm so grateful this is not a criminal case, but it is a serious one just the same. I've kept my notebook with me, but, of course, can't take it into the courtroom. They finally closed late this afternoon, and we can deliberate tomorrow. I hope we can all bring it together by day's end. Thank you for stopping by...I'm anxious to see your 'eye makeup' post!

  4. Greetings Susan, it is an experience I'll not forget. Now, I am truly an American Woman! They did finish up and made closing statements this afternoon, and we will be deliberating on Friday. Hope we can get it done. I do feel a lot better about it, but it's a scary thing. I'm glad, tho, that no one's life is in my hands. Thank you so much for your uplifting and gracious compliment on my writing. That makes my day! Will talk to you soon-stay warm!


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