First, I have to say that the Second Judicial District Court knows how to do jury duty. It’s by far almost as painless a process as you could hope for. The courthouse area (which has several courthouses for various jurisdictions) is easy to get to, clean, efficient, compact, and not bustling with a mass of vehicular or foot traffic. It feels governmental without being imposingly officious; it almost (almost) comes off as welcoming.
The jury room in the Bernalillo County Courthouse provides all the necessary amenities: magazines, water, soda, coffee, tea…as well as restrooms — which are welcome given all the water, soda, etc. The jury people only call you to appear if there are jury trials scheduled. Sometimes this means you have to call in before noon to find out if you are needed for an afternoon panel.
My biggest gripe is about that afternoon panel thing. While it’s nice for a night-person like me to not have to get up on the wrong side of the sun transiting the horizon, it does mean that any afternoon commitments have to be placed on hold because of this uncertainty. It’s disruptive. But I can’t think of a better alternative. The only other sane option is to call all possible panels in and have them wait around. That happens often enough with morning sessions.
So, now my time is done. Most of the times I was called in turned into empty days, but over the weeks I did get reacquainted with my old friend voir dire. I lucked out in never getting selected for a sitting jury. That’s never hugs and puppies.
I mentioned to the staff that I’ve never had a more pleasant jury experience. With this court, the three-week obligation is just about right. That it’s on-call for the entire span (unless you are on a jury, in which case it’s judge’s rules) is a lot better than weeks of mandatory attendance followed by more weeks (or months) of on-call. Refreshments were a plus as was the generally relaxed atmosphere. The most distracting bits were having to put plans on hold for a little over a month as well as that Jr. High voice in my head shouting during selection roll-calls, “Don’t pick me. Oh please, ohpleaseohplease don’t pick me!” For once, being the one not picked was the most desirable outcome. And now, I can put my focus back on work.