Jury duty over in 1.5 hours

by Michael Alderete on 3/2/2002

On Wednesday afternoon at 1:30pm I had to report to San Francisco Superior Court to serve the terms of my jury summons. It turned out there was only one case which needed jurors, but they anticipated a difficult selection, and had requested a large pool of potential jurors.

There must have been 200 of us in the room when they started explaining how it would work. They were going to take a first “batch” and keep the rest on reserve, in case they ran through the first group without selecting enough people for the jury.

The first group was called out, my name not among them. At first I thought this was going to be horrible. At least the folks in the first group would have something entertaining to do, i.e., watch the jury selection process. And if you were in the first pool there was the potential to be rejected, and sent home quickly.

The rest of us would have to wait until the first batch was all gone, or the full jury selected, before we could be dismissed. Or so I speculated to Rochelle on my mobile phone around 2:45pm, as we made plans to give the hamburger at Hotel Utah a try for dinner.

Then, not 10 minutes later, another person came over the loudspeaker and explained that the court had notified them that the first batch would be more than enough to keep them occupied for the rest of the day. Since SF has a “one day, one trial” policy for service, we were dismissed, and had fulfilled our duty.

The part I loved was how he put it: “We’re going to have to let you go.” I genuinely got the impression he would much rather have had us sitting around doing nothing all afternoon!

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