Friday, February 22, 2008

Civilian Police Academy recap + Jury duty -- or not?

What I'm reading: Minor in Possession by J.A. Jance; Worth Every Risk, by Dianna Love Snell

Wednesday's Civilian Police Academy speaker provided some real-time looks at what the cops see on their computers in their patrol cars. (Kind of scary to see how many Code 3 calls were in progress). The system is virtually paperless; everything is done via computer. I also picked up a phrase that will have to show up in my writing -- someone asked the deputy what his most harrowing patrol call had been, and as he described the situation where there were armed suspects but nobody was sure exactly who they were or where they were, he said it was a real "pucker power" event.

I'd hoped to have an information-packed post about my experiences on jury duty. I don't mind getting the summons. It's one of the last places where a true democracy is in place--where citizens can do their part. I also figure if I ever had cause to be on the other side of the jury box, I'd like someone like me on the jury. And, as always, I figured I could come away with some good writing fodder.

Didn't turn out that way. Judges estimate the number of jurors they'll need based on their dockets the night before and turn that number in to the clerks, who then decide which folks from all the summons sent for that particular court date will have to report in. My number was within their range, so I got up early, dealt with the construction traffic on I-4 and did the lemming bit, finding the shuttle service from parking garage to the courthouse, the right entrance, and the security screening. There were 135 of us assembled as potential jurors. After a swearing in and stand-up routine from one of the clerks, we settled in to wait to be called. I'd hooked up with a high school media center specialist and a theme park employee, and we got acquainted as we waited.

Well, they called exactly ONE panel yesterday, of 22 potential jurors. That was it. There must have been a lot of plea-bargaining going on. They even gave us nearly two hours for lunch. So, I had some pleasant conversation, got a bunch of reading done, but was more than glad when they released us all at about 3 pm.


Macy O'Neal said...

Last time I had jury duty, I didn't get released until after 5 pm. But I took my laptop and wrote. And I read, so all in all, it wasn't too bad.

Terry Odell said...

I didn't want to deal with schlepping the laptop, or locking it up, etc. If I were in the midst of a manuscript, I might have thought differently.