May 7, 2007

From the jury room

Your Verdict is nothing, you play upon the Court; I say you shall go together, and bring in another Verdict, or you shall starve; and I will have you carted about the City, as in Edward the third's time.

The new state courthouse in downtown Tampa has a much better jury waiting room than the old courthouse with an old creaky-seat auditorium. In the new courthouse, we have comfortable seating in a large room, pleasant lighting, water and comestibles around the corner, and wifi. So while I wait to see if I'm in a jury pool for a trial, I can do a little bit of work, online even.

Thus far, we've only had two pools pulled. The first was for 22 people, and the bailiff asked for volunteers who might be able to come back every day for two weeks. (I couldn't do it because my summer term starts next week.) When he got his last volunteer, everyone applauded. The next pool had 36. It's now almost noon, and I suspect this is just a slow day for jury trials, or maybe on Monday the majority of pools don't get pulled until the afternoon.

I don't anticipate either an unpleasant time or being starved or imprisoned for anything I may do as a juror. All I give is my time. And for that, thank you, Edward Bushel. (The quotation above is from the trial of William Penn in 1870.)

Update 1: Some possible unpleasantness in the afternoon avoided: some wanted the television on, others (including me) didn't. Fortunately, the room clerk figured out how to put the sound on very quietly at one end, close to the TV that was on.  Peace lasted for a few minutes. Then, suddenly, one my fellow maybe-jurors-in-waiting started semi-tunelessly singing "76 Trombones" from The Music Man, oblivious that we could hear him. Those of us around him just smiled at each other. We think he's allowed. 2:45 p.m. and I'm still not on a jury pool.  Looking good for a clear week...

Update 2: 4:21 pm, and I suspect that the clerks running the room are waiting for a single judge to decide whether to call for one more pool today or wait until tomorrow. As with attorneys and the parties, we all wait upon the judge. Update to the update: waiting on three judges, according to a clerk.

Update 3: We were finally released at 6:04. Whew!

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Posted in Random comments on May 7, 2007 11:50 AM |