Things I learned while serving on a jury

1. My fellow citizens have a lot of respect for jury duty. In fact, they have so much respect for it that they didn’t so much as giggle at the Troy McClure-esque “Welcome to Jury Duty” video we were all forced to watch. I don’t have as much respect. Or maybe I was the only one watching the video.

2. Facebook is making me illiterate. After the judge said I couldn’t log on to Facebook for the duration of the trial, I was astonished at the amount of reading I got done while waiting for more Candy Crush lives. I don’t even want to consider how much I could read if I cut out Candy Crush as well.

3. Twelve strangers who are forced to spend a large amount of time together but are forbidden from talking about one of the two things they have in common will talk about the other thing they have in common – food. It’s a good thing our trial ended when it did because we were running out of restaurants to discuss.

4. Never leave important documents in your car. Not IDs, not checks, and please, for the love of all that is good, not your birth certificate or Social Security card. Please.

5. Reasonable doubt is the worst. I have no idea what it means. We would still be in the jury room if I hadn’t come to the conclusion that the defendant was guilty based on a technicality but instead was still trying to make up my mind as to whether or not the prosecutor had proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

6. New friends can be found in lots of places. And related to that, I like Methodists.

7. Jury duty is super hard and emotional and I hope to never have to do it again. And that line from TV defense attorneys about how jurors never look at defendants they just found guilty? True.

8. That thing about how people who watch too many legal procedurals on TV expect too much from real-life police officers and prosecutors? Also true. Except instead of “too much” I would say “a reasonable amount of effort.”

9. At the end of jury duty you get a certificate that looks very similar to the certificate I got in elementary school for being a Super Star Speller. Once I’m over the sadness of jury duty I might frame mine and put it on my wall (my jury certificate, not the spelling one).


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