I was recently “summoned” to participate in everyone’s favorite civic responsibility: jury duty.
When I was first notified, I felt a little apprehensive. I didn’t have many details about the process and was unsure about what to expect. So, if you’re still waiting for your fateful day to come, I hope reading about my experience will help you to feel a little more prepared.
I showed up at the Jefferson County Judicial Center in Louisville, KY, at 9:30 am. After my bag was checked by security personal, I waited in line with around 250 others. When I made it to the table, I was given an informational brochure and a jury ID card. Then, the waiting game began. At this point, I was glad I brought my laptop and other activities to keep myself occupied. Although, it didn’t hurt to have a few friendly conversations to help pass the time!
While waiting, we watched an informational video about jury duty and a judge joined us to briefly outline our duties. Soon after, they started calling jurors’ numbers to potentially participate in trials for the day.
Here are my takeaways from the process:
- You’ll be given a juror ID number and a group ID number. Don’t lose this information as it will become important later.
- Each day, there are trials that require a certain number of jurors from the pool.
- If your number is called, you’ll go through a process called “voir dire,” which rules out any individuals who might have a connection to the trial, previous knowledge of it or hold certain beliefs or opinions that might deem them unfit to serve as a fair juror for a specific trial.
- If your number is not called, you’ll most likely be released for the day.
- After your first day of jury duty, you’ll call a phone number each evening to find out if you need to show up the next day. Once connected, they’ll name group numbers that should show up the following day (I had to show up every day but, alas, my juror ID number was never called).
- There is a new pool of people summoned for jury duty every two weeks, meaning the orientation I mentioned above happens every other Monday.
All things considered, it wasn’t as frightening or as stressful as I was anticipating. The employees understand that many are going through this process for the first time. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Here’s what I recommend bringing if you have to wait as a juror:
- Snacks: You’re probably going to get hungry. To save money and make things easier, I brought my own instead of searching for vending machines and nearby restaurants or convenience stores.
- Cell Phone & Charger: It’s likely you’ll use your phone heavily while you’re waiting. Don’t forget to bring a charger or an external battery.
- Books or eReader: Get some quality reading time in!
- Laptop: Fear not! They’ll let you bring your laptop. I brought mine to work on some blog posts, among other things. I would also recommend using the waiting time to catch up on work.
- Water Bottle: Again, I didn’t want to pay for anything when I was downtown.
- Other Games/Activities: Bring a deck of cards, knitting supplies (note: only plastic knitting tools are allowed), coloring books, or Sudoku puzzles to pass the time and maintain your sanity.
What can’t you bring in?
- Knives (even pocket knives)
- Metal knitting tools
- Anything that is purchased to do harm on someone else
That’s pretty self-explanatory, but many of my co-workers carry mace on their keychains for personal protection so don’t forget to take it off!