Monday, February 23, 2015

Day One of Jury Duty: Hurry Up and Wait In a Gun Free Zone

My first day of jury duty is over, but it's not my last.  While I was struck from a jury (apparently prosecutors don't like jurors who hate the war on drugs), because there are so few jurors in the pool I have to be back tomorrow morning.  

Since this is all happening in the local courthouse it's a gun free zone. You'd think the jury room would have some security in place. You'd be wrong.  The jury room is a big auditorium style room on the second floor of the building that also houses the parking deck.  The only security on the building are "No Weapons" signs on the entrances to the actual building.  The closest security is a deputy manning a metal detector in the skyway that connects the parking deck and jury room to the civil court.  There is a door on the street at ground level that anyone can just walk right in, and then take the elevator or stairs to the second level at which point the only thing separating a potential threat from a couple of hundred unarmed people packed into one room is a glass door and couple of middle aged female civil servants.  

Contrast that to the men with guns between anyone off the street and the judges' courtrooms and offices.  Kind of tells you what the government thinks about your safety (at least on the local level here in Alabama). At the very least the jury room should not be a gun free zone.  It's wide open to a potential attacker.  

From a personal defense standpoint there wasn't much I could do.  I kept my eyes open, and noted exits and anything that could be an improvised defensive tool.  

Anyway, to the actual jury duty.  I was there at 8:30 in the morning as my summons instructed and aside from them taking the part of our summons we had to fill out and turn in, we were all ignored until after 9:00 when they did the orientation and then listened to reasons to be excused.  After that we were ignored until just after 11:00 when we were told because of the low number of people in the pool we would be recycled onto multiple juries. Then we were dismissed for lunch and told to be back by 1:15.

Nothing happened again until 1:45 when they started breaking us up into groups of 30 and sending us into court rooms for selection.  I was in the second group and sent to the criminal court. I was, as stated above, struck and sent home and told to be back at 8:30 tomorrow.  

All that fun and they're paying me $10 and $0.05/mile (which they asked us to pretty please waive so that they could afford to have more juries because Jefferson County Alabama has been run by a pack of thieves and is bankrupt. Not happening, if for no other reason than I want my gas and lunch paid for. That's not asking for much.)

More to come, including, I hope, federal jury duty next week.


Old NFO said...

Interesting that there isn't any security...

Robert McDonald said...

Yeah, I am not happy about it.