Hello! I haven’t blogged in a bit, but let’s get with the updates.
Jury duty is cold. That is the first thing I noticed. It is very, very cold. I was called in for Jury Duty, that dreaded ordeal, last Thursday, on June the 7th. I’ve heard all of these stories about how everybody just dreads being called in. Since I was summoned during my summer vacation, and I didn’t start work/internship until June, I didn’t have an excuse on hand to get out of it.
So I woke up at 7AM on a Thursday morning and got ready to go into Jury Duty. My dad, when he was called in, was dismissed three hours later and taken out of the juror pool for six years. Just like that. They didn’t need him, so he was free to go!
Me? No, I didn’t get so lucky.
They called my name with a group of around 15-20 other people and led us into a room. Instead of telling us that our room was dismissed, they instead gave us plastic tags that labeled us as “Jurors” and informed us that we would be meeting with a Judge to discuss a criminal trial. This would be anything from a theft to a murder, because the only thing our lead knew was that it was a criminal investigation for a felony.
We’re all put into a bus and shipped over to the Nassau County Supreme Court, where we fill out a Juror questionnaire and wait out in the hall for the Judge to call us in.
We are called in and the Judge reads the indictment. Afterwards, he asks that if anybody would find it uncomfortable and difficult to remain unbias in this court case, proceed to the front now (in a line, 1 at a time) and inform the Judge why this is so. Most of those who asked were removed from the running.
I’m studying to be a lawyer, and feel that I can remain unbiased no matter the circumstance. So I stayed.
Then from our group, they called 13 members to the jury bench. They asked us a series of questions. First the Judge, then the Prosecuting Attorney, and finally the Attorney for the Defense.
After three rounds of questioning to ensure that we would not let our personal bias mar our judgment in this case, the Judge conferred with the attorneys and we were dismissed for lunch. When the lunch break ended, we sat back in our respective seats and the Judge read out the names of 2 jurors and 3 alternates that had been selected from our group.
I am ALTERNATE JUROR 3.
As an Alternate juror, I attend the trial for its duration along with the other jurors for three weeks. However, on the final day of deliberation, I will NOT attend unless I am put onto the Jury (enough jurors have been removed or have left the case due to emergencies, work, business trips, etc)
The judge repeatedly informed us not to talk about any specifics of this case, not to speak to the Press, not to speak to each other outside of deliberation about the case, not to research any of the parties involved, etc.
So I will not mention any specifics whatsoever. Just know that it is an extremely amazing opportunity, and I am not in the least bit bored. The trial will last approximately three weeks. I have postponed the beginning of my internship and work-study position to accommodate and overall, this is an amazing experience.
I am terrified, because the nature of this case is such that it can easily become very controversial. I am praying that all goes well and in the end, justice is served.
I cannot reveal any details but I will say….I am a skeptic when it comes to the hindrances of courtroom procedure, but this trial has given me great insight into the world of Criminal Law.
It has affirmed that my decision to not pursue criminal law was the right one. I am glad and more secure than ever in my decision to proceed with studying corporate law rather than civil law!