ntang (ntang) wrote,

Jury Duty

The jury process in NY is painfully inefficient. The entire thing blows my mind, and we wonder why so much money is wasted. First off, the damn judge works a half day - 10 to 5, but it starts late and ends early most days, and he takes a 2 hour lunch (despite warning us to be back on time). And he called that a "very full day". Very full my ass. If I worked as "hard" as he did, the company would be out of business. Jackass.

So it starts with you reporting to the courthouse, going through security, and then sitting in a room for an hour while everyone who wasn't on time slowly trickles in. Wait - can't forget, for your viewing pleasure, they have a state-made documentary on the judicial process including re-enactments of trial by drowning or whatever it was called, when they threw you into the water to see if you would float. Yes, congrats, our jury system is better than a superstitious medieval practice last seen in a Monty Python movie. A round of applause for us! Yay! An hour after they tell you to arrive, it starts, and it starts by them walking you through filling out the form that they instruct you to fill out before arriving. So after that, which takes almost 30 minutes, they read the instructions, which takes another 30 minutes, then they release you to wait (and wait and wait and wait...).

So finally they call your name. In my case, after I went back, and then they took attendance to make sure everyone whose names they called actually went to the back room, they... well, in our case, they sent us to another building to begin the process all over. This time, though, it was the supreme court building - criminal courts division. (Oh no...)

So after an abbreviated version of what had just happened in the last building, they finally called (some) of us into a back room, where they took attendance again. After that, they gave us more instructions, and then took us upstairs and told us to wait outside of the court room until the judge called us in. We waited (and waited and waited and...).

Finally the judge called us in, and then proceeded to babble for an hour about our system and some of what we could expect and how our jury system is the best legal system in the world. Then he sent us to lunch, telling us we had to be back on time or be marked absent for the day, and to give time to get through security. I went to lunch, and got back on time on the dot (luckily, the security line was empty so I was able to breeze through). Good thing, too, because the judge kept us waiting outside for almost an hour after that. Damnit! What a jerk. I get the impression he had perhaps not hurried back from lunch quite as quickly as we had.

So then he began... well, actually, no, then he talked to us some more about how the process worked. Finally, at some point (my sense of time was getting fuzzy :P ) he began questioning the jurors. I don't know if this is normally when the attorneys present usually get involved, but they didn't bother yesterday. Why? Maybe because in addition to the written questions each juror had to answer, that had some potential bearing on the situation, the judge decided to socialize with each and every one of them. Knowing they had a 2 year degree in accounting wasn't enough; he wanted to know who their college roommate was and what they thought of school and how their kids were and why they were divorced and... each juror got around 30 minutes, on average, and they've already tossed out a bunch.

We go back today to continue this interminable process. Maybe I'll be lucky and I'll DIE so I won't have to sit through this, but I doubt it.

Of course, if I'm rejected, then I get to repeat this entire process with another judge. Why can't this sort of processing happen in advance? Give us the "this is how it works" speech once, before we see any judge. Ask us (and have us or someone else write down) our personal information from those questionnaires. Let us get processed once and just pass the results to the judge and lawyers in each case, and then only if they're still interested, then they bring the "finalists" in for in-person questioning. Stop making us repeat the same damn processes over and over again. So much time is wasted, and when you only work a half a day, every moment is precious. Christ.

It's driving me insane, I swear, and it's only been one day. I could continue my rant, but I don't want to be "late" for my second day in court. Golly, that'd be terrible, I might only have to wait (and wait and wait and wait...) for 30 minutes instead of an hour. Sigh.

(Of course, if I do get chosen, it's at least another 3 days worth of trial before I'm free to go. And if I'm not picked, I get to do this all over again with another judge until I've fulfilled my obligation, which they actually tell you is only one day if you're not picked. I guess that's one full day, which means two half days, since I'm going back for my second day now. Damnit.)

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