No Splashing in the Jury Pool!

Saint Louis County Courthouse

Saint Louis County Courthouse

It was another unusually warm December day today, so I spent all day splashing in the pool, the jury pool that is. I rode my bike into downtown Clayton and parked it right outside the county courthouse. It’s less than two miles, so it was virtually a no sweat ride, at least in the cool of the morning. After locking up the bike, I filed through security. It wasn’t as invasive as the usual TSA fare. I had to remove my belt, but not my shoes and there were no blue nitrile gloves to be seen, two-by-two, hands of blue …

The jury selection room is on the sixth floor of the courthouse and it pretty much consumes the entire floor. I estimate that there were 600 prospective jurors there in the morning. After everyone was checked-in and seated, a judge came in and read us all the rules. There were no surprises. Two bailiffs then came in and called out 24 and 36 names respectively. These two sets would eventually be culled down to twelve person juries, plus maybe a few alternates. The remaining 500+ of us settled down to waiting, waiting for lunch. They released us early for lunch, so I had plenty of time to ride back home for a leisurely repast.

I figured out that cell phones, even cell phones with a camera were OK. I had my iPhone with me when I returned after lunch. We sat around for another hour and then a clerk came to the microphone. She called out about sixty names and mine was among them. We were told that we could leave for the day, but had to return tomorrow morning. The rest of the pool, those whose names were not called were dismissed from jury duty.

I rode home and then since it was such a nice day, did a turn in the park, for some bonus miles. There is a chance of rain on Tuesday, but hopefully I’ll be able to ride again. Being selected to appear for jury duty a second day greatly increases my chances of actually serving on a jury. Two juries were seated today. Based upon my estimate of the number of people recalled, I expect another two juries will be seated. With twelve jurors and three alternates per juries, only about sixty or 10% of the original jury pool will actually serve on a jury. By being recalled, my odds of actually serving has gone from one-in-ten to a one-third or maybe even a 50-50 chance. If seated, the average trial lasts two-days. Some are as short as one day, but a few are much longer. My boss would not be pleased with the last option.

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