2/03/2011

the day my blog saved me from jury duty



Let's talk Jury Duty.  The first time I was summoned by mail we lived in Omaha Nebraska (go Huskers!).  I was pregnant with my first child and was on complete bed rest for pre-term labor and pregnancy induced high blood pressure.  Suffice it to say, the county accepted my request for a deferment.

The second time I was called for Jury Duty we were living in Ankeny Iowa and had just given birth to my 2nd daughter, Ellie.  I was breastfeeding and once again my deferment request went through without so much as a second glance.

When the third request hit my mailbox a couple of months ago, I am ashamed to admit I immediately decided I would request to be excused from serving.  My list of excuses included:

1.  I have a child with a chronic illness.
2.  I cannot turn my cell phone off because the school nurse may need to get a hold of me.
3.  The courthouse is 15 miles away and I can't be that far away from my T1D child.
4.  No one else can provide care for my child like I can.  She NEEDS me.

While all of these reasons have a ring of truth around them, not one of them are reason enough for me to not participate in my civic responsibility.  The truth of the matter is I did not want to relinquish care responsibilities to anyone else; even though my husband is more than capable and our school nurse is available all day, every day at our school.

Hhhhmmmppppphhh.

Reality bites sometimes.

So, Monday morning I arrived at the county courthouse ready and willing to serve my one trial / one week duty; whichever was longer. 

Soon I was sardine packed tight into a row of strangers and silently wondered if I had remembered to put on my deodorant.  More importantly, I had to wonder if the other 200 public servants had remembered to use theirs.

After watching a 15 minutes video and listening to a brief welcome statement from a judge, I sat back on my bench and settled in until my number was called.

I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  I was thankful for Sprint's 3G service on my smartphone to keep me entertained and up to date with my favorite blogs.

Finally my ticket was up and I, along with 74 other soon-to-be jurors, walked into a courtroom and ........ well, we waited.  Then we filled out a questionnaire and were dismissed for a 2 hour lunch.  Once back, we ....... you guessed it ...... waited some more.  The attorneys wanted to speak with some people individually and slowly the group of 75 whittled down to 50.  By this time it was late afternoon so we were dismissed until 9am Tuesday morning.

After having so much down-time the day before, I decided to come prepared with my bible study materials, a book and a fully charged phone to the courthouse the next day.  About an hour into waiting we were summoned into the courtroom and were told the attorneys for the state and the defendant (self represented) would ask us questions and we were to answer in front of everyone else.  Some questions were pretty innocent, but others were quite personal and I felt for those who were visible uncomfortable having to answer in public.  This went on for a couple of hours until they dismissed another 25 potential jurors.  I was not one of them.

Following a quick lunch break, the judge announced the trial would last at least into the end of next week.  I started to panic.  My husband was taking some personal time from work to fill in for my absence, but we were certainly not prepared for this amount of time.  While I wanted to serve on a jury, I couldn't wrap my mind around trying to make this work. 

Then the defendant asked the pool of would-be-jurors about blogs.  In particular, he asked if anyone in the room was a b-l-o-g-g-e-r.  I shot my hand up, expecting to be one of many, but was startled to discover my hand was waving solo.  He asked my if I would mind sharing about what I write about on my blog.  Certainly!  I spoke loud and clear about how I write about how my daughter and our family live with Type 1 Diabetes.  I educate, share stories and advocate for a cure for the disease and am part of a large online community who supports one another.

After I stepped off my podium, um I mean stopped speaking, I noticed one of the prosecutors for the state picked up a pen and drew a line through something on a page that looked a lot like a list of our names. 

Shortly thereafter I, along with 8 other people, were dismissed from serving on that criminal trial and officially released from serving any more of our one week duty.  Yep, the clerk validated my parking and I was free to go home and resume my everyday exciting life.

I have to admit at first I was disappointed about not being chosen.  Kind of like back in junior high when you stood waiting to be called for a sport's team.  But them I shook my head and cleared out all the crazy thoughts and c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e-d that I was released.

Woo-Hoo!!!!!!!

And that is why I have been absent from commenting on all the fabulous posts this week.  Two days away and then 2 days to catch up on the home front.  Hopefully I will get to my favorite things by tomorrow?!

10 comments:

Nicole said...

this is a wonderful thing to know!! Blogs save the day :)

Football and Fried Rice said...

LOVE IT!!!

I meant to ask today how Jury Duty went!

now, I know i will NOT hide the fact that I am a b-l-o-g-g-e-r come March when my country wants me to perform the same duty ;)

Not that I'm trying to get out of anything!

Wendy said...

WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!! I BLOG and I BLOG LOUDLY :)

"Soon I was sardine packed tight into a row of strangers and silently wondered if I had remembered to put on my deodorant. More importantly, I had to wonder if the other 200 public servants had remembered to use theirs."

Seriously...I almost died laughing when I read this :)

Roselady said...

I was wondering where you were the past few days! Funny how quickly we get used to our blogger friends!

Reyna said...

WOOT! I can only hope BETA BUDDIES does something GREAT for me one day besides the "free therapy" it provides.

WELCOME home friend, WELCOME home! xoxo

Alexis of Justices Misbehaving Pancreas said...

LoL!! Yay!! Welcome back! Youve been missed :)

Wendy said...

Funny! I must start a blog immediately!!

Deanna said...

My need to blog doesn't get me out of anything, but you've given me hope that someday it will! :)

sky0138 said...

woohoo!! that is awesome!! i had to giggle at your deoderant comment too...lolol...i can't tell ya how many times i've been standing in line at the grocery store on a busy day trying to remember if i put mine on...lolol

Lora said...

I will have to remember to write "I blog" on my questionaire :)