Today I was called to jury duty for Snohomish County here in the State of Washington. I was actually surprised I was required to show up to the courthouse – the last few times I’ve received jury notices I’ve called in advance to discover my services were not required. But alas, when I called on Sunday, I learned that I was required to arrive at the county courthouse by 8:10 am today.
Even as I arrived and sat through the preliminary instructions and process, I was still optimitistic that I wouldn’t have to actually serve on a jury. The court secretary commented that there were many more potential jurors than would be needed so many would be dismissed. Natrually I hoped I would be one of those. No such luck – I was accepted as a juror for a case in Superior Court and will be attending to those duties for the remainder of this week (while tending to client and Zenwerks projects in the early mornings and late evenings).
Naturally, I can’t discuss any aspect of the case for which I’m a juror. But I did have a few observations from today’s experience that I thought I’d share:
- If you ever want to see all slices/walks of life, a jury waiting room is probably the best place to do so (next to the DMV office perhaps). Sitting in there and observing 60 or so fellow citizens really gave me a perspective of the diversity in lifestyles we have – and often forget.
- Snohomish County has a very efficient process for jury selection. I was impressed by the organization of the entire process – from the moment I walked in the door to the time I was placed in the juror’s box. At the conclusion of the trial I’ll blog in greater detail about the entire process but I was struck by how well they managed the process, communicated to potential jurors and genuinely tried to make the experience as painless as possible.
- Going through the jury selection process can be alternately very interesting and enlighteningg – and also incredibly boring and tedious. There is lots and lots of sitting around and waiting (as anyone who has gone through the process knows). But I also found many aspects of the legal process to be very interesting – especially the questioning of the jurors by both sides of the case during the jury selection process.
- People can be incredibly dumb and ignorant. OK, I didn’t just learn this today – but I was certainly reminded of it time and again. I was constantly amazed by how many times people disregarded instructions, asked questions about an area that was already covered, disappeared without informing the court (even though we were told time and again not to do so), etc. The woman who runs the jury room is an absolute saint to have to answer the same questions dozens of times each day and to keep track of 60 odd potential jurors – none of whom want to be there.
- Everett has a killer Thai restaurant! During our lunch break I decided to go for a stroll in the neighborhood around the courthouse and found a Thai restaurant across from Comcast Arena that was literally empty – it was me and two other tables having lunch. But the food was simply amazing – Thai Gusto is a gem and I hope more people find it and keep it in business!
As I mentioned earlier, I plan on writing about the entire experience in greater detail when I’m free to discuss details about the case. In the meantime, I’ll be spending my days in a courthouse and evenings here catching up on work!