So I got called to report for jury duty today. I showed up and got my badge and did a fair amount of sitting around, until about 20 of us got taken down to the courtroom and the judge himself explained to us that there is a one month trial coming up, and anyone that felt they might be able to do this should raise their hand. I raised my hand. I return next week for jury selection, and at that point there will be about 50 people in the “pool” from which the jury is to be selected.
Here’s the kicker: I’m self employed, so no work = no pay.
BUT, I’m not destitute if I don’t work for a month. I have savings. I don’t have kids or other equally major responsibility. The courthouse isn’t far from where I live. It’s my civic duty (?) And it sounds like it could be a fascinating experience.
This is my first ever time even being called for jury service. So maybe I have stars in my eyes and am not thinking clearly about the financial sacrifice. Or the fact that the freelance income I do have coming in could be dried up if my contractor decides they could live without my help forever if they can live without it for a month.
Should I have not raised my hand? Is there something I’m not considering? What’s your humble opinion?
If you can do it without undue hardship to you and yours, go for it. Every time I get called it never works out because they want me during the AP testing period or something like that. If they called me at the end of June, I’d gladly go in and serve. But they don’t do requests.
Also, “month long trials” don’t necessarily cover all day of thirty consecutive days. You might be sent home early some days – not every part of the trial takes place in front of a jury, for example, if they are debating whether a particular piece of evidence is admissable, they have a “suppression hearing” which takes place w/o the jury because they don’t want you to hear inadmissable evidence. On these occasions, usually you’re sent out of the room, but if the judge sees it lasting too long they’ll send you home for the day. You also might sent be sent home early, or not appear at all on a particular day, due to some external factor --as when the laywer, judge, or some necessary witness has a conflict/illness/death in family/missed flight, etc.
Also, it could always get mistrialed and end abrubtly. Then you’re done and they choose a new jury for the second try.
I sat on a jury last year, and those who were self-employed and thus not getting paid for the duration were immediately dismissed. But if you can survive the loss of income and want to do it, I say go for it. But I’d be afraid of a trial with a lot of dull, technical testimony.
Oh, jurors get paid in the states, just not alot. Some employers will pay regular wages for employees, but in Pennsylvania at least they aren’t required too. For my recent jury duty I was payed $9 per and $1.70 per mile.
In California we get a whole $14 a day, and mileage.
People who are self-employed, and for whom service for a long trial will be a hardship, can certainly be excused. I’m in the middle of the selection process for a 2 month trial. :eek: I don’t want to do it, but for other reasons. I was on a jury for a 2 week trial a year and a half ago, and it was very interesting.