20 Things I Learned From a Week on Jury Duty


This past week I worked as a juror on a case involving a string of burglaries.  We the jury found the defendant guilty of 5 of the 7 theft and burglary charges leveled, which involved over $30,000 worth of stolen property.  The punishment will likely be several years on parole.

Here are some of my observations:

  1. Punishments don’t always match the crime (parole seemed light to me for multiple home invasions)
  2. It is difficult to get ON a jury (they narrowed the pool multiple times)
  3. Hardly anyone wants jury duty (many had convincing sob stories)
  4. Jurors have a lot of dead time spent waiting back in the jury room
  5. Jurors are given access to unlimited free Dr. Peppers (the best part)
  6. Jurors aren’t allowed to take notes during court proceedings, nor ask questions (just told to watch and listen)
  7. Throwing twelve absolutely random people together for a week is interesting, to say the least (I did make friends with all, by the end)
  8. In retrospect, who I felt I identified with closest among the twelve is surprising:
    1. In the “giving-the-benefit-of-the-doubt” category I felt I identified closest with the very cool, personable, and articulate black fellow (he explained his desire to be extra careful not accusing someone who was innocent since he knows from personal experience how unjust it feels to be stopped by police while minding ones own business)
    2. In the “similar-thinking” category I felt I identified closest with the middle-aged married woman who works as a Human Resource agent (not the Engineer or even the other homeschooler, oddly enough)
  9. Proceedings in the courtroom were tedious and over-serious…
  10. …but when all was over the judge and attorneys "let down their hair" so to speak and we had a nice chat with the chaps
  11. It is crazy the number of witnesses who were called to testify (everybody and their dog)
  12. If I ever burglarize a home, it’s important I wear gloves and be careful of of my shoe prints…
  13. …and also beware of security cameras when doing my evil deeds (but not sweat those too much as their footage will most likely be grainy and inconclusive)
  14. Working as a Crime Scene Investigator would be fun, but working as a Detective looked even more fun!
  15. Dusting for fingerprints seems easy, I want to learn how so I can add that to my repertoire of skeeels
  16. The lawyers were less mean and angry than I thought they were supposed to be (even helping each other out at times)
  17. One attorney is currently working 80 cases (how does he keep them all straight?!)
  18. The courthouse doesn’t shut down for blizzards…
  19. …and their cafeteria leaves something to be desired
  20. During deliberation, being the only juror who isn’t sure the baddy is guilty is unnerving!!