I was summoned for my first jury duty today. I checked the webpage as instructed by that dreaded summons mailing and my group was instructed to report to the courthouse.
First I checked in and sat down to read my book that I had brought with me. After about 20 minutes the lady in charge of the jurors came in and showed us an orientation video that explained what we would be asked to do as jurors. Then she asked if being a juror at this time would place an undue hardship on us and if it did then we had to fill out a form explaining it to the judge to see if we would be dismissed. I had no reason to fill out the form so I sat and watched about 15 get one. I remarked to the man sitting next to me that I sadly didn’t have any good excuse to be dismissed.
After a short break my group was escorted to the courtroom. The judge came in and briefing explained what we would be doing. She briefing described the case as being 1 charge of driving under the influence, which in this case as marijuana. After that 12 names were randomly called to be the first ones to sit in the juror box. 6 alternates were also called. They were asked a series of questions starting with their name and occupation, if they knew anyone in the legal or law enforcement field, and what their feelings about marijuana were. After all of the jurors and alternates had answered the judge and the 2 lawyers left the court to privately discuss the matter. About 5 minutes later the judge and lawyers returned and each thanked several jurors and asked them to be dismissed. After a juror was dismissed one of the alternates would move up to fill their space. This continued until there were no more alternates to fill the seats so another 6 alternates were called up. For the 6th alternate spot my name was called so up I went. After answering all of the questions the judge and lawyers again went back to privately discuss the jurors. They came back and dismissed 5 more jurors making me the 1st alternate. The judge told us that they needed to have 2 alternate jurors for the case so 5 more people were called to join me in the alternate chairs. After answering the same questions the judge and lawyers for the last time left the room to discuss who to select. After coming back they chose the 2nd and 3rd alternate jurors and everyone else was dismissed.
Overall the process was not that bad. I am glad that I did not have to serve on the jury though. I don’t think I could have been fair and impartial with someone who was accused of driving under the influence of marijuana. Driving is a large responsibility and is mentally challenging at the best of times. Potentially killing someone because of being mentally impaired because of marijuana is unacceptable.