Friday, September 5, 2014

Jury Duty In Small Town Texas

I hate jury duty. Always have. Back in California, I had it a handful of times and only had to physically go to the courthouse once or twice. All you did was sit in a waiting room for hours and hours, then they dismissed us because the case had settled. You never even saw a courtroom.

Well . . .

Small town Texas is different. First of all, there is no waiting room. You wait in the lobby then everyone piles into the courtroom. I'd say there were 150-200 people packed in like sardines into the most uncomfortably stiff wooden pews I've been in since my private elementary school chapel days. 

As for excuses and disqualifications, there were no receptionists that handled things like living in a different county. Nope. Everyone lined up in a single-file line and approached the bench one at a time. Already overwhelmed by my first time in an actual courtroom, I was sweating bullets as the bailiff motioned me forward. First of all, the judge sits so high up, you have to basically stand on your tiptoes to see over and speak with him. Secondly, there were five lawyers surrounding me plus a court reporter writing down every word that was said. This was exactly the audience I dreamed of when my anxiety disorder became part of The Public Record.

After stammering through my explanation for what seemed like an hour, he thanked me for my honesty and said he might dismiss me if they had enough people. So I sat there, nervously watching person after person get excused, thinking there is no way he's going to let me go. After about 15 people had hurriedly exited the courtroom, he called me back up and let me go.


The final difference between jury duty in California and small town Texas is that they paid me this time. I got six bucks for just showing up. I still prefer California's way of not having to show up at all, but it was a nice way to end the day. I'm secretly hoping they've entered some type of note in my potential juror file that says "CRAZY GIRL - DO NOT SUMMONS" but the logical part of me hopes they didn't. I really don't need that on the record.

All in all, an interesting experience . . . that I hope I don't have to do again for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. It's fascinating how different jury duty is from one area to the next.