We've moved to Facebook! Follow us there!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jury Duty - Another Positive Experience

Earlier this month, I went to have my first jury duty experience. So many people told me how it would be. It would be long, drawn out, the system wouldn't want to hear anything about my impending business trip, I'd be board, I would sit for days, I would have some stupid petty crime to decide on, are examples of things I was told. I had NONE of these experiences.

My court experience was fantastic, and this entire experience (being told what it would be like versus what it was) highlights again to me that you can carry in the baggage of others and experience the world their way, or go into an experience boldly with zero preconceived notions and create your own experience.

The summons said to be at the DeKalb court house at 8:15 AM. I took the local train (MARTA) to the court house since there is a MARTA terminal is literally 150 feet from the jury duty location. I arrived at 7:30 and found the building locked, so I made my way to chick-fil-a for coffee and a breakfast burrito. At 8 I made my way back to the court house and did the registration. It took all of 3 minutes to get signed in. I was given a sticker that said Juror and was seated in a large, but comfortable room. It seated maybe 200 people.

Around 8:30 the court clerks explained the procedures of the day, which included a swearing in.

By 9 am the names of people were being called out for particular cases. I wasn't selected in the first case, but by 9:10 I was selected for the second case.

As the group of 48 of us made our way to our court, 5D, the tension of "what's next?" kept building. It was exciting and the jurors were all very quiet. We were all lined up in numerical order (we were given juror numbers) and brought in. My number put me right in the 12 person jury box!

The judge came in (and we did the whole "please stand" thing), and the process went to the next round.

I was very impressed with the judge and his ability to command the court room. His presence was that of an executive at any large firm. His name is Judge Gregory A. Adams.
Articulate, commanding, clear, and precise. All things I admire.

Judge Adams is a superior court Judge; I had been picked for a superior court case. While I don't know all the court things, I knew superior meant something better than inferior.

The judge then read the incitement. His tone was even, and his voice very clear. As the counts were read, my thoughts went, "Holy Sht! This is a murder trial!" The defendant sat in the court room, and remained emotionless. It was pretty intense for me. I may be sitting in judgement of another person, a young person, for murder. The judge made it clear that this wouldn't be a death penalty case.

After all this was read, the judge announced he expected the trial to last about a week and then asked if any of us jurors had any conflicts with the case due to prior commitments. I raised my hand, and was the first to be called. I stood up (which turned out to be the right thing), and in as clear as possible voice, with all the confidence I put out for speaking engagements, told the judge and the court of my pending trip to Russia.

I was the first juror to speak, and yet others didn't pay close attention to how I handled it. When other spoke, for various reasons, some didn't stand up or were not clear or only shook their heads. The judge had to correct their behavior, and based on how respectful they were, he tailored his message.

A series of questions were asked of all of us, in front of all of us. Questions like, have you ever seen a murder, do you know anyone who was murdered, etc. It was all very surreal.

By noon, the jury was picked and I wasn't on the duty. I know the judge spoke with the lawyers and made sure I wasn't in the pool. I would assume that if there were an issue and they needed one more qualified juror, then it may have been me but many folks were more than qualified.

In DeKalb county, they have a "1 day 1 trial" approach. In this method, you are processed for 1 trial only. If you don't fit, you are done (like I was). If you are not selected the entire 1 day, then you are done. Very easy.

The court clerks were gracious, and even cracked jokes.

I still can't get over the judge. He was a very impressive man. His respect for the jurors and the system itself oozed out of him. While I have no idea how the whole trial meted out, I have no doubt it was done in accordance to the laws of the nation and the state of Georgia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.