I received my summons for jury duty in Maricopa County Superior Court last month, to appear at 8:00 a.m. yesterday, Monday morning. As instructed, I called last Friday after 4:30 to check the status of my group and was told to call back again on Monday at 11:00 to see if they needed us in the afternoon.
Since I really didn't want to drive downtown and spend the afternoon there, I had done the Wishful Thinking Insurance Exercise that morning of being prepared to go -- showered, hair done, makeup applied. On my planet, this means I wouldn't get asked to appear. Because, you know, if I didn't get ready, they'd have required my presence for sure. Apparently, the Wishful Thinking Insurance Exercise fairies took yesterday off and I was told to appear at the courthouse at 1:00 p.m.
They actually make it pretty easy. Very clear instructions on how to get to the parking garage and where to catch the shuttle for the 5-block ride to the courthouse. There was a lot of standing in lines; first, for the shuttle; then, to go through security at the courthouse; then, to present your summons and register your presence in the jury assembly room. I was in the security line next to a woman who we shall call Chatty Cathy. At one point she asked me if I ever watched Andy Griffith. I looked at her and she said, "You know, the Andy Griffith Show." She said that Aunt Bea went to jury duty and everyone couldn't agree on the verdict so she baked brownies or something to try and steer the jury her way. Whatever!
The jury assembly room kind of reminded me of the MVD. A big room with lots of chairs and people waiting around to get called. The woman who was working the microphone was great. She had a good sense of humor, did a pretty good job of pronouncing names and scolded a few times when people weren't responding "Here" loud enough as she called their names. She would say, "Okay, we have another bailiff here. When I call your name, say 'Here' and come up and get your number. Then stand on the white tile and follow your bailiff to whichever courtroom." They had TVs up all over the place and started the movie "Fever Pitch," starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.
I took a paperback to pass the time. Hubby and I thought it was funny that I was reading "Abuse of Power" by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. It's a dirty cop story but a DA plays a prominent role. We thought if I made it all the way to the jury selection process, I should accidentally drop my book on the floor and when they saw the title they would just think Oh no, pass!
They sent about 8 groups through with various bailiffs. I think one group had about 46.5 people in it. I say .5 because I don't think Chatty Cathy was all there. A little before 3:00, they started reading names again, this time to come up and get your proof of attendance paperwork and be released to go. It was so gorgeous outside, I decided to walk the 5 blocks back to the parking garage and, apparently, a number of other jurors thought the same thing. I heard a man behind me say that he had been in the jury selection process for a trial they estimated would last 3 weeks. They finished at about juror #25 and his number was in the thirties. He sounded relieved.
So my very first time at jury duty was a big non-event. Since I didn't even make it to the jury selection process, I don't make the whopping $12.00 payment, just mileage reimbursement based on our zip code. Civic duty attempted!