The summons arrived in the mail about a month ago. I really tried to think of a reason why I would not be available or why I wouldn’t make a good jury person. Alas, nothing came up. I was stuck.
So, I got up extra early this morning and headed to Redwood City to the San Mateo County Courthouse. Parking and security were a snap. I was early enough that I could even get a cup of coffee. I found myself in a large room of people who were all wishing that they were somewhere else. I’ll bet that they were all formulating their excuses of why they should be excused.
The man in charge of the room, Jim, greeted us with “Please come in and have a seat.” Then he went through an orientation and a video. After all of that I started to get excited at the prospect of serving on a jury.
Every 6 months the jury system gets names from the DMV (dept of motor vehicles) and the register of voters. If your name and address are not exactly the same on the 2 rolls, you could get 2x the amount the summons. In my county, Jury duty is defined as 1 day or 1 trial. If served, you get a perdiam of $15 and mileage. At the end of the trial, or your day waiting to get called for a trial, you will get a document called a “Proof of service”. It is important to keep this for 12 months in case you get called before the year is up. It is also important in case an employer wants proof that you were really called for jury duty.
Suddenly Jim started to call names. The first group was sent up to the 8th floor. I was surprised that the number sent was so large, about 70 people and it’s only 9:30.
Surprises galore! After waiting another 45 minutes our best friend, Jim, made an announcement. “I have spoken with the powers on the 8th floor and they have enough prospective jurors. Therefore you may all leave.” The funny thing is, I was a bit disappointed. We are all off the hook for a year. I will cherish my Proof of Service.