I have spent the last 2 days down at the Maricopa County Superior Court, fulfilling my civic duty. What an experience! I got the dreaded jury summons a few weeks ago. I called the number on Friday night, hoping that my group would be excused, but of course, I was in the very first group, so I got the pleasure of attending. So, armed with a book, a magazine, a bible and plenty of water, I headed down to the courthouse on Monday morning. Usually the cases they are hearing are 3 day civil trials, like the ones I work on, so I wasn't thinking it would be that big of a deal. It might actually be a good learning experience for me given my chosen career. Then we hear the announcement. "Ladies and gentlemen, we will be calling a panel today to select a jury for a 5 week trial." What?!? I don't think so! But the only excuse they would accept to begin with was if you medically were unable to attend trial for that long a period of time. I'm thinking, why can't I still be nursing and still in pain from my car accident! But, I guess I better be careful what I wish for. Anyway, I of course was called into the 5 week trial group.
First we get to hear the allegations in this case. I won't get into details here, but let me just say that I would definitely suffer from vivid nightmares with the things that I would hear and see as a result of participating in this trial. Sitting through the voir dire process is excruciating. I was sitting in this dreary courtroom for 3 hours listening to 55 people's dirty laundry. When asked, I advised the court that I was the only employee at my office, and that I handle everything and could not be gone from work for that stretch of time. Apparently that wasn't good enough to get me excused at that point. At 4:30, the judge adjourned, instructing each of us to come back the following morning to continue jury selection. Are you kidding me? So I call my boss, and thought his head was going to explode when I told him that they were selecting for a 5 week trial. He stressed to me that I had to get out of it, that he couldn't survive without me. So I came back the next day and while answering another question requested a personal meeting with the judge and counsel. Of course they didn't do the private meetings until AFTER lunch, but when I was called into the courtroom, I just flat out requested to be excused from the case, telling them that the stress and worry about what is going on at the office would absolutely distract me from the case at hand. With that, I was dismissed. What a relief. I got out of there at about 2:30 and went back to work. My boss literally fell down on his knees when I walked in the room. It seems as though the thought of being without me for that period of time reminded him of how much he needs me. He was telling me all afternoon that I can't go anywhere (as in quit) and that he is so happy I'm here and really appreciates the work I do for him.
So all in all, I guess I know my job is secure, and I am off the hook for jury duty (at least superior court) for at least the next 2 years. I definitely thing that this process is more doody than duty!