This is the second time I’ve been “randomly selected” for jury duty. Surprisingly, it’s not as exciting as TV would have you believe. It’s a lot of waiting and standing around. If you’ve ever wondered what jury duty is like, it’s basically like waiting at an airport terminal for a plane that’s delayed, indefinately.
Most people tell you that as long as you present a half-decent reason, they’ll excuse you from jury duty. These people are wrong. Even if you work at an institution that works heavily with lawyers and your boss tells you that as long as you tell them what you do for a living, they’ll excuse you. He’s wrong. However, these people aren’t monsters. If you have a legitimate excuse, they’ll let you go home. Make sure you check your mail, though. Your deferral letter should arrive within the next few weeks.
The first fun-filled jury duty activity is the informational video. This video is filled with people telling you how much they love jury duty and how it’s a priviledge to be chosen. They also lay on pretty thick how it’s the most wonderful legal system. Don’t worry, they chose the best actors for this video. They’re very lifelike and convincing. “Even though I didn’t get paid, I would jump at the chance to serve on another jury. It gave me a deep appreciation of our legal system.” Yeah, okay… And now the video’s playing in French. Oh right, this is Canada.
You always can pick out the veteran jurors by their big books. They’re not fooled into thinking they’ll be in and out in 10 minutes. Speaking of long waits, “They’ll be with you shortly,” has lost all meaning.