My First Jury Duty Experience

I received a summon for jury duty couple of weeks ago, asking me to report to LAX courthouse today.

After hearing so many boring jury duty stories, reporting to jury duty wasn’t exactly the most exciting thing I look forward to. But still, it’s one of the duties that us citizens need to fulfill. So I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed early to go to court at 8 o’clock in the morning.

The line waiting to go through the security gate at the courthouse lobby took so long.  It took me 20 minutes to finally go through the security and get to the elevator line. Then we were asked to wait in a large jury assembly room. A courthouse staff came out and greeted us, gave us instructions on how the jury duty selection is processed. Then she asked us to sit there and wait for them to call our names.

I really regretted that I forgot to bring a book with me. Everyone else there was either reading a book or newspapers. I sat there daydreaming and dozing off. Right before 11 am, a male judge in his 40’s (really handsome too!) came into the room to talk to us. He explained enthusiastically why jury duty is important in the justice sysetem. He also talked to several of us and asked how we feel about today’s jury duty system. His little encouraging speech brighten up our boring day a little bit.

Right after the judge left, the staff announced that they gave us the end of day notice. All of us could go home early! Since I get paid for jury duty, I figured I might as well go home and just relax for the rest of the day. That was the quickest jury duty experience ever! I hope I could be this lucky next time too!

昨天第一次去洛杉磯機場附近的法院當陪審團候選人, 這是美國公民的義務之一. 聽很多人說去做jury duty很無聊, 整天只是坐在那裡沒事做. 所以我起先也不是很想去. 不過又不能躲掉, 幸好去jury duty公司也有付薪水,  可以不用待在辦公室一天也不錯.

早上8點準時到法院時, 門口已經排了一長龍的隊伍準備過檢查關. 自從911發生之後, 美國各大行政機關大樓都設置這種和機場一樣的檢查關卡來查視有沒有人攜帶危險物品. 雖說是為了安全起見, 但也造成許多不便. 像我昨天就排了20幾分鐘才過了檢查關,來到電梯前面, 幸好並沒有遲到太久.

上了4樓,我和一群其他的jury來到一個jury assembly room等候, 有位法院的工作人員出來和我們解釋行程是如何. 大致上jury duty分3個階段. 如果有任何法庭需要陪審團,他們便會從電腦檔案隨便選出幾位人選, 由法官及律師親自審核, 決定要用哪些人來陪審, 如果被選上了,視案子的長度, 就必須一直陪審到審判結束. 結果通常是由陪審團聚集討論出來才定罪. 整個程序從5-10天不等. 大部分的人都不喜歡花那麼長的時間浪費在法庭上, 所以他們通常會在面試時掰說自己有種族歧視等等歪理由來讓自己被刪除掉.

我昨天是很幸運地一直沒被抽中, 而且在那邊等了3個小時之後, 工作人員便宣布說我們可以回家了. 大概昨天沒有太多審判需要用到陪審團. 大家很高興地拿了證明資料便回家休息了.

朋友都說我滿幸運的, 一般jury duty都至少要等到下午4,5點才能回家. 我還白白賺了一天工錢. 希望下一次被叫去做jury duty也能那麼幸運.