Monday, October 28, 2013

Jury Duty Day 1

There was a line outside the court building for going through security when I got off the bus this morning downtown.  But we could keep our shoes on.

The jury assembly room is on the second floor.  I checked in and got a one page form to fill out - name, profession, past jury experience, organizations you belong to, hobbies. 

Another third of the jury assembly room is to the right
It's a big room.  The phone call yesterday said they were taking jurors 1-415.  I had my computer, but never took it out.  I'm reading Vic Fischer's autobiography and I find it fascinating.  He was born in Berlin to American parents in 1934 - a time and place I've had a lot of interest in and have recently read about.  I just wanted to read.  So it was fine that I wasn't called in the first three groups - about 40-50 in each group.  But then they asked those still left there to fill out another form.  This one asked about whether we had experienced sexual abuse, knew anyone who had, or had been involved in organizations related to this issue.

Our group got sent to the third floor and we were called in alphabetically, so I was number 2.  The jury selection, we were told, was going to take the rest of the week.  Prospective jurors would be questioned in some cases individually.  It probably could have been done a lot faster if the judge hadn't talked so slowly.  And he said 'uhhh' so many times that I checked my watch for a minute.  25 times.  That's almost one 'uhhh' every other second!  The days would be from 8 to 1:30pm I think he said and only Monday through Thursday.  Then the trial would last through the week of November 11. 

He went through the questions again on the questionnaires we'd sent in when we first got the notices.  Anyone not an American citizen?  Anyone not over 18?  Not an Alaskan resident?  No one raised their hands.  For that last question he said, "Good, because the names are taken from the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend applications."

Then we were asked if we knew the defendant, his attorney, or the prosecutor - who were all in the room - or any of the potential witnesses.  Their names were put up on a screen and read.   A woman knew all the police officers.  Turned out she's a police dispatcher.  Said she doesn't know them personally, just as a dispatcher.  He kept her in the pool but said the attorneys would surely have more questions. 

Then we got to scheduling.  "Does anyone have an important activity that will interfere with this trial or would take a financial hit because of the schedule?"  Another man said he had a doctor's appointment next Monday morning.  The judge said they could accommodate that.  I said I had a plane reservation for November 7 to visit my 91 year old mom who is not well.  I was excused.  As I was leaving another woman said she was the sole support for a young relative and couldn't take that much time from work.  I think she was excused too.  By then it was about 1pm. 

We have to call in each night this week to see if our numbers are called again.  The judge said that last week there was judge training in Girdwood, so things were extra busy this week.  (I called.  I don't have to go Tuesday.)

Then I walked across rainy and darkly overcast downtown Anchorage to meet J for lunch.

Past these Russian dolls looking out the closed gift shop window at the rain.

This car hood catching and mixing rain drops. 

Past the Club 25 building and Cyrano's across the street.

There seemed to be a number of new places I hadn't seen before, like the Bubbly Mermaid.

And across the Museum grounds. 

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