Monday, February 28, 2011

What I Learned At Phoenix Jury Duty Today

Do not show up early. Doors do not open until 745am. You will wait outside in the 40F air until precisely 745.

Do not sit in the waiting room next to anyone wearing strong perfume or aftershave... Strong enough to make you cough & nose run.  The juror waiting room is large, take advantage of it.

Bring a mobile Device - DDF gave me her I touch - Phoenix municipal court has wifi. It does NOT work outside in the cold but it does work well once inside.

Have patience.... Lots & lots of patience. The orientation video is targeted towards a sixth grade education level. Ugh.  It's nice, and sweet, and patriotic, but it doesn't have a great deal of substantial information in it, other than "thank you for coming, your jury duty service is essential to our democracy, and please do not be discouraged if you are dismissed for the day".
One cannot wear a hat when in court.

One of the recommendation on the orientation recording is "do not express emotion" - lol!!! - if you are selected to sit on an actual jury.

The coordinator people are very nice and friendly.

Coffee and tea are free, so that is nice.

Average age of the jurors around me in the waiting room is 45 or so. Supposedly every 18 months you can be summoned.

The I touch is fairly intuitive. Sucks that I cannot SIGN OUT of things like FB easily... Grrrrr.

Bring your laptop for work.  The Wifi is strong enough to support VPN up-and-downloads, and there's a very nice "reading room" that is very quiet.  I read Jon Stewart's Earth which is quite hilarious so far.  Even funnier that a nun was sitting 3 feet away from me as I tried not to snicker at it.

If you're interested in watching a movie for free, they play a movie on the ubiquitous large screen TVs (Blind Side and Night at the Smithsonian were played today)

When the juror reception orientation person tells you that "watching the people coming through security is a freak show you don't want to miss" ... take her word on it, and watch the completely unprepared fellow citizens trying to negotiate a simple security screening, on their way into court to see their friends and relatives who are appearing in civil or criminal hearings that day.  On my way out, I saw a variety of human dregs and carnies I've not seen since previously visiting rural, indigent South Carolina.

The jury duty system in Phoenix is based on the "one day, or one trial" premise.  "One day" is "One day, and if you are not picked for a jury, you've done your duty and you can go home". "One trail" is "One trial, that lasts in general, 2 to 3 days typically".  The 5 cases that I could have potentially been picked for, were all "misdemeanor criminal cases" in the words of the facilitator "minor possession, prostitution, shop lifting, things like that".

Parking is EXTREMELY convenient - right across the street from the court house.  Do Not park in a "dark corner" or you'll have to step over a puddle of urine to get into your car.  Park away from corners, and Get your Parking Validated by the juror facilitators.

All in all, it was a very positive experience.  I am glad I did not get selected as I have a HUGE amount of work do to this week for my job with a remarkably full schedule - and unexpected relatives visiting for the next 2 days as well - but I will not dread my next jury summons.


  1. "carnies". thank you for that :-)

  2. I had to do a double take, to make sure that the denizens I saw coming through security, and waiting just inside for the rest of their tribe / cohort, were not some group participating in a mixture of "extras from Deliverance" crossed with footage from "COPS", and stewed in the gumbo of a rural Kentucky inbreeding study. Truly strange & unique appearances were presented by all, and the few sentences of dismay I heard them exclaim as I put away my summons and drew out my car key from my backpack assured me that their verbal ability was on par with their strange appearance.


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