Walt Mankowski

All glory to the hypnotoad

Federal Jury Duty, Day 2

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Tuesday, June 26 was day two of my federal jury duty. This is my very belated report on what happened.

I think the reason they limit it to two days or one trial is that after the second day, you realize that even though they tell you to be there by 8:30, you don’t really need to be there until 9. They took attendance at 9 to make sure nobody decided to play hooky, and then we sat around until around 11 before I got selected for another juror panel.

This time I had a much lower number, 26. Unlike Monday, when the judge had each potential juror come up and discuss her or her issues in private with the attorneys, this time the judge did most of the voir dire by having people say their issues out loud. The 4th of July holiday was the following week, and nearly half the panel had vacation plans. I, however, did not, since I’d decided to hold off on any vacation plans until after I was done with jury duty. By the time we broke for lunch I was sure I was going to end up on the jury.

Before we left, the judge said that he was going to talk to the attorneys over lunch to see if they could speed up the jury selection process. When I got back from lunch this was apparently still going on. The doors to the courtroom were closed, and all the jurors were waiting out in the hallway.

About 20 minutes later the doors opened and a number of people left the courtroom and walked past us to go to the elevators. Shortly afterwards we were told we could enter the courtroom. We sat there for about 45 minutes, and finally the judge entered. He apologized for making us sit around so long, but he had good news: the defendant had accepted a plea deal. It turned out they’d been in negotiations for months, and he could have gotten a much better deal if he’d accepted the original offer. As it is, he’s facing up to 54 months in prison. When the judge sent us back to the jury room, I hadn’t seen so many happy people since the Phillies won the World Series back in 2008.

By the time we got back, it was already late in the day, and within a short time we were excused for the day. Since I didn’t get picked for a trial, my federal jury duty was over. When I got home, I found a report on the case online.

The following day I was supposed to report to Media for Delaware County jury duty. But when I called them up, I learned that they didn’t need any jurors that day, so I was excused. My perfect record of never serving on a jury remains intact!