How to get out of jury duty

Actually, this post is not about how to get out of jury duty. I’d be the wrong person to write that, since I’m in the jury assembly room right now, waiting to hear if I’ll be called to serve for a trial.

As I wait, I keep thinking back to the last time I was on jury duty. It was late September 2001 in Philadelphia. Security was tight and it took 45 minutes just to get inside the courthouse. I ended up serving on a jury for an armed robbery trial. It was, perhaps, the most maddening experience of my life. The whole trial took eleven days. Our juror deliberations were like 12 Angry Men except in this case, there were men and women, and it took four days instead of ninety minutes. And oh, the one juror who believed the defendant was not guilty actually believed he was guilty, but just didn’t like the Philadelphia police, so she refused to change her mind. As a result, after four days of deliberations, we were a hung jury, 11-1. The whole thing, the whole freaking eleven days was a wash.

I can’t blame the juror too much. The only thing worse than the jury deliberations was the trial itself. The incompetence of the public defender was matched only by the ineptitude of the the young assistant district attorney, who was dressed as sharply as the p.d. was shabbily. Both men were jokes, and I had to sit on my hands during the trial to avoid raising them to ask questions myself.

Law and Order it was not.