Thursday, March 28

Local Judicial System

About a month ago, I got my summons to appear for Jury duty for my county. As I have stated over the past few days, I dreaded going, mostly because of the sitting and waiting that seems to happen most of the times I have been previously. Plus, you hear the "horror stories" that others tell: of being on an 8-week trial, or having sat there all day and not being called to serve. I have had those days (the ones where you sit all day) but never an 8-week trial. My most recent previous time, I did get to serve as a juror, and the trial only lasted 2 days. Two half days at that.

Either way, I had a decent time of it yesterday for the most part. Having been summoned so many times over the years, I reflected yesterday about the changes they have made for the jurors. No, the random selection is still done via names that 1)registered voters, 2) have current AZ Drivers license, or 3) current AZ state ID card, which I had not known the last two were included in the selection process. Which could explain some of the "weird-o" people one sees when called to duty. But overall, the changes the court system has made for jurors, to make things more comfortable for them, to provide them with certain means of access for work, or entertainment to keep from being bored off their asses.

I think back to around when I first served, about 20 years ago. The waiting area was packed. The only thing they provided was two televisions, which aired whatever was on a local channel. Yes, that means in the afternoon it was soap operas. If you didn't bring a book, or other materials, you sat there watching TV, or went insane. Climate control was horrendous, and being summertime in AZ, cramped in an area where seating was like sardines.... you can imagine.

Over the years, I have seen several changes. Most were great changes. This trip, showed some of the best ones yet. The was wider seating and legroom, almost like theater seating on level ground. They had a kitchen where you weer allowed to bring in your own food/drink, plus a micro, toaster oven, vending machines, FREE COFFEE AND TEA, lockers to store personal items (free of charge). You did not have to sign out to go to the restroom, that other times would have been clear across the building, making it a 5 minute walk both ways. They play movies for those that want to watch one. They have a 'quiet room' where people can sit and work/read without noise distraction. Free public wifi, plus a few terminals you could use to do whatever. Their opening was with a video that helped explain the basics of what was to happen that day, for those that have never been before, and had an actual judge come down and speak about how much they thank us for appearing to do this duty. I was duly impressed. WAY better than the last time I was down there about 2 years ago.

Appearing for my Jury summons yesterday was overall quite nice. There were a few moments I did not care for, and I am actually glad I was not selected for the trial my group was sent to. Reverend Mother and I texted a bit before I needed to report in, about how I should watch for the weird people, and see what sort of blog post I could come up with. I really didn't see any though. Most of the crowd were my age or older, though a few were younger (not very many). By 1:30, I was back on the road headed home. Not much to say other than that.


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