I was at the courthouse at 7:50 in the morning; went through security, just like at airports, without any hitch. There were already a handful of people waiting by the jury assembly room, which at this time was still locked. In a few minutes one of the staff came to open the door and we all walked in. I took one of the second row seats...I don't like sitting in the front row. It must have something to do when I was in school, where I don't want the teacher to see me right away.
We were supposed to be there at no later than 8:15 AM. So, there we were sitting, waiting for our fate. By 8:30 the guy next to me started complaining. He wasn't happy to be there, he has other things to do, he said. Sure. I'm not happy either, but I don't want to be fined $1,500.00 for not showing up. The guy left for a while to get something to eat. Me, I didn't have a decent breakfast. I tried eating 1 1/2 piece of raisin bread toast, but I couldn't eat most of it, though I tried stuffing them in my mouth. They were tasteless. A little before 9:00 a staff showed up and welcomed all of us unwilling participants. She explained everything to us, though most of it was in the handbook, but she did it more detailed, down to the places where we could get our lunch, enumerating the names and at which corner we could find them. A judge came to the room to welcome us and gave us a pep talk. He sounded and talked just like Robert Shapiro. He understood how we felt about the whole thing, but he reminded us that it is what makes this country great; that it is our moral duty to participate in the justice system; that if we try to dodge it and go to another state, it is the same; and the only way to escape from it is not to be here in this country. He said further that we are all immigrants or of immigrant ancestry.
After all that talk, we were given our badge holders, handbooks, parking permits, and we surrendered our summons. We were instructed to wear our badges at all times, visibly on our chest, in any part of the building. It's a way for the lawyers to identify us as jurors. The reason for that is there are times the lawyers discuss cases out of the courtroom and they are not supposed to let jurors hear them. So, if they see a juror nearby them they quit discussing the case. If a juror happens to hear them the case will be dismissed. All cases in the courthouse are criminal in nature. Civil cases are heard in another jurisdiction.
When all was said and done, we waited...and waited...and waited. It was getting close to 12:00 noon. I was praying already that they would let us go...send us home. But by 11:45 a staff started calling names for the jury panel. I waited with apprehension praying that my name won't be called. Then my heart skipped a bit when I thought it was my name, but it was not. Oh, I heaved a sigh of relief. But she went on to call some more names...then...my name came out of the speaker loud and clear. "Here," I called back.
We were instructed to go to the 3rd floor, Dept. G. So the 50 or so people filed out of the room to the upper floor. There we waited at the hallway near the courtroom, and in a few minutes a court clerk let us in. We sat down and the judge greeted us. We barely spoke...it sounded more like a whimper, and the judge said, "You can do better than that." So we all replied in unison in a much louder voice. He understood our feeling...that we were not happy to be there.
Finally, I saw what was inside that very courtroom. It's unlike the ones we usually see on TV. The jury seats were metal padded foldable ones, and the spectators', were spring-loaded to fold automatically, and were made of plastic. They were cold to sit on; not comfortable. The judge, of course, had the best seat in the room--swivel, leather upholstery, high back with arms.
We were each given questionnaires to fill up at home, and were instructed to return the next day at 10:15 AM. I'm in, but still praying to be dismissed, hoping that they get the 12 jurors and 2 alternates before they get to my name.
I had lunch then headed home; I was so tired and sleepy I went to bed and took a nap.