Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Six Year Reprieve

As long as I don't move out of Queens County, I am free from Jury Duty for the next 6 years. Until fairly recently, the exemption was 4 years if you served, but since the Empire State widened the jury pool by eliminating most vocational exclusions, the exemption was extended.

I was prepared for the worst, but all in all, it was not a bad experience. As intimated in the post below, my first experience with Jury Duty soured me a little. In 1989 or so, the jury room in the Manhattan Supreme Courthouse down on Church Street was very dirty, uncomfortable with wooden pew-like seating and ancient phone booths. The coup de grace was a rather elderly gentleman dressed in a ill fitting navy sports jacket covered with dandruff who had a 'pet' cockroach crawling around on him. I swear to God!

Fast forward to 2007. I arrived around 8:10am, sailed through a metal detector (damned underwire bras!!). The jury room was well lit and spacious with comfortable seats and a nice array of amenities. There were a dozen or so internet ready computers, vending machines, clean bathrooms, reading material and a few tables on which one could work or eat. The Jury Clerk (a NYPD officer) played movies on the large flat screen TVs at a moderate volume. He even cracked a few jokes.

The only bump in the road was when the Clerk told me I couldn't use the computer at 8:20ish...they were not to be used until after 8:30 or 9am. WHATEVER! I asked why not. He refused to elaborate. I copped an attitude. So did he. Yep, I reverted to my 16 year-old problem with authority self in a New York heartbeat. To complete my humiliation, I had to go back to him and ask if I could use the machines, as the posted signs said I wasn't allowed to power them up. The signed lied. He told me to turn them on. Ah, bureaucracy!

I was never called. Left the courthouse by 4pm, with several hundred pages of The Half Blood Prince under my belt (which I stayed up until 1am to finish so I could begin Deathly Hallows today). My husband and son picked me up at our subway stop, and we headed down to the Astoria Park pool. Collected a full day's pay, too. What's better than that!



Epimenides said...

Not a bad day after all then, was it? And you're in the clear for the next 6 years! good on you! :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks, Epi. Nope, yesterday definitely did not suck :)

JYankee said...

Congrats on ur 6 years reprieve! didnt sound too bad! ha...not....

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

A day of reading and internet alone without children? And PAID? Sign me up. Sounds like a little piece of heaven (though I'm sure it was not).

Alice Kildaire said...

See that wasn't so bad! Ironically, the only time I was every called for jury duty was just before a murder trial I had been covering for the paper. The judge made me stay all day, until finally, about 5 minutes before opening arguments started, he excused me from the jury pool so I could cover the trial!

eastcoastdweller said...

Well, looks like I made a wish and it came true. I'll have to toss pennies in that well a little more often.

Rebecca said...

Thanks Yankee!

Stie, if I thought Jury Duty would be that painless, I wouldn't have ignored all the summons that came before! (yeah, I know, I was seriously risking arrest. Hence my appearance this time.

Hi, Alice. Glad you still got to cover the trial, but seems like a total waste of time that they made you stay so long when they HAD to know they'd exclude you.

Thank you, ECD. If your wishing well work,s toss a penny in for me just for good positive energy :)

Bridget said...

I quite enjoyed my day of reading a book for jury duty without my children when we lived in Massachusetts. Sure a beach would be better but......c'est la vie.

Kate said...

So, I can safely say...Can you BELIEVE snape murdered Dumbledore?!? I refuse to believe Snape is that unsophisticated a character, and I hope he will be redeemed.

The Real Mother Hen said...

So by being there doesn't mean you would be called? Cool I learn something new. Usually I don't really know what to say when people talk about Jury duty since I don't know much about the system. Now I can throw in a sentence like, "oh you miss out the opportunity to rest and read the Half Blood Prince" :)

The World According to Me said...

Hi Rebecca

Here's to six jury duty free years!

And modern technology. How things change.

Hope you have a great weekend.

SOUL: said...

they really gave you a days pay? when i was called..even tho not chosen...for reasons stated below... the only money they offered the jurors who were to be chosen, here in texas, if i remember correctly, was only like 8.00 a DAY. plus lunch. woo hoo. no wonder people try so hard to get out of it. wth are ya sposed to do with 8 bucks a day...especially when ya pay 5 to park!
anyhow...sounds like yet another good day.
i want one.
take care
happy friday!

Rebecca said...

Hi, Soul. My job paid me for the day. The Great State of NY pays you 40 bucks per day if your job doesn't pay you.

HI, World! You have a great weekend, too! And yes, jury duty has come a long way, baby.

MH, you are off the hook when you show up. You might be called, you might not. They just need enough people in the jury pool to select a few juries. I was told there were something on the order of 11 trials going on.

Kate. I am STILL pissed off over SNAPE, and nearly cried at the death of Dumbledore. I love the curse at Sirius' house though (Up to page 250 or so in deathly hallows). My husband, who has finished the book, told me to remember my words after I called Snape EVERY vile thing I could come up with (keep in mind, I am a marine brat, my knowledge of the profane is extensive).

Hi, Bridget. How about a beach motif in the jury pool room? Complete with (virgin) umbrella drinks.

SOUL: said...

oh won't have to mess with it for quite a while now eh?
c ya

Random Magus said...

Totally off topic - but Deathly Hallows is much much better than The Half Blood Prince.

Uncle Phatato said...

Thank God you had a book with you.

David said...

Your obligation is fulfilled for at least another six years, you got your reading done, got paid, and rose up against authority. Hmmm, since we're talking about Harry Potter anyway...Mischief Managed! :)

Rebecca said...

Hi, Random. Well, I can tell you that Deathly Hallows is a much darker book, that is for sure!!! Still have 200 pages to go.

Uncle, indeed! Can you imagine showing up to something like that without a book!?!?!?

David, lol. yes, indeed mischief managed. Man, what I could do with a marauder's map and an invisibility cloak. Not to mention a few neat spells! mmmwwwhahahahaha

Lulubelle B said...

Hi Rebecca -

I found you on a comment page on Kate's blog.

I lived in Queens for 4 years and was called for jury duty three months after I left and moved to Texas. When I called the court house to explain, no matter what I said, the clerk kept asking "Do you still live in Queens County?" I tried telling her I lived in the state of Texas (nope), the city of Dallas Texas(nope), Dallas county Texas (nope).

Finally, it dawned on me - just answer the question!! "No, I no longer live in Queens County". "OK, just throw out the summons." Sheesh - almost as much fun as the DMV!

- Lulu