Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Jury Duty

I had jury duty today, at the Denver District Court, in Denver's City and County building, 14th and Bannock, on the south side of downtown. I was looking forward to being on a jury, never having done that, although I've been called twice before, 10 to 15 years ago. Colorado has a "one day/one trial" system, which means that you serve for either one day or one trial.

I prepared by reading some of the info from the American Jury Institute formerly the Fully Informed Jury Association, digging up a copy of the US Constitution to take with me, and bringing a book to read, The Anglosphere Challenge.

8:15: Arrived at the City and County building. Walked from home, a pleasant journey. Had to go through security, an annoying and demeaning experience. We were supposed to be in the jury hall at 8:30. Fill out paperwork to get paid, up to $50 per day.

8:50: Watch a 10 minute video about some of the changes the jury system has undergone. Colorado is apparently considered a leader in jury reform. Jurors can take notes and ask questions during civil trials, and possibly criminal ones as well. That's good, imo.

9:40: Selected for criminal court. Jurors are assigned a number and that number is used throughout. No one is called by name. About 20 of us were selected and go down to just outside the courtroom where we are told that we won't be needed until 11:30. I went over to the Denver Public Library, which was 2 blocks away. Had to wait until it opened at 10am. Spent a half-hour on the internet reading news and checking the stock market, which was down.

10:40: Had an early lunch at the Subway in the Webb building, named after Wellington Webb, a former Denver mayor. More security. Ugh.

11:25: Back in the hall just outside the courtroom. We were told it would be another 10 minutes. Turns out we weren't called for over an hour.

12:30: Enter courtroom. The judge thanks us for our patience and tells us that the parties have finally reached a plea bargain deal and that we are not needed. The case was a domestic violence case where the defendant (apparently fairly well educated) tried to represent himself. Reminds me of an old saw, something like "He who hires himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client."

12:40: Done for the day. Walk back home, though they did give me two RTD ride tickets, which now carry what looks like a holographic sticker on them and are numbered, and are valid until the end of the year. Except for the security, not a bad experience.


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