My Day in the Judicial System

I was tapped by Fremont County for jury duty. Donna has enjoyed this several times and each time, her call has been cancelled. Not mine. I had an 8:15 appointment with legal destiny.

And Donna was up to see me off! That was a shock! She never is up before 9! I had to leave before 7:30 to make it.

I actually got there early but not simply. We had a shower during the night then it got cold. So I found a sheet of ice on my windows!! It didn’t wanna scrape off! Between the defroster and the scraper (They never really go into storage in Colorado!), I got enough clear glass to creep out to the county road. While starting the Montero*, I saw the fuel light ON! So my priorities in town changed: breakfast could wait; fuel first!

I was amazed there was NO traffic on Copper Gulch Road. I figured I would driving in with the working people. I guess they start even earlier up here!

The first station entering Canon City from the west is Hank’s Auto Plaza. And while I was there I had a cinnamon roll and coffee for breakfast. Then on to the Justice Building on the other end of town.

I entered the security check with my cell and Kindle. Those were allowed but food and drink are not. I was the first in the jury room but not by much! Eventually there were about 30 of us. We turned in our little questionnaires (which turned out to be a waste of time since each prospective juror had to answer the exact same questions again!). The jury commissioner entered the data in the computer while we watched a video extolling the virtues of jury trials and what the process is for becoming a juror. And what knights in shining armor prosecutors are. We all saw how well that worked in Georgia. Yeah, I have some bias on that subject!

Finally we got to move into the actual courtroom to sit on hard wooden pews. Another juror commented it was like being in church! The judge came in and we began. Or tried to; they had to go roust the lawyers out of wherever they were hiding! Then we were sworn in en masse. Then 6 of the pool were excused for various reasons; one for not living in the county.

The clerk of the court called the first 6 names; this was a misdemeanor so the jury was smaller. They each went through an interrogation by the judge about being biased then each introduced themselves off a series of questions on a board. It got much less interesting when he turned the jurors over to the judges. It was a telephone harassment case and the prosecutor delved into domestic violence issues. The defense lawyer harped on “innocent until proven guilty” and how could a charged person could be prejudged by just being there. This confounded the jurors and they stammered their explanations. He also stressed that not taking the stand is a constitutional right and should not be taken as a sign of guilt.

This went on a while. Then the challenges began. I was surprised how many jurors were tossed by premptory challenges (that means the lawyers didn’t have to state a reason). Each side takes turns challenging and a challenged juror gets excused. Then the judge calls the next name on the random list and he and the lawyers interrogate them. One of the replacement jurors was so unpopular, he barely finished his intro and questions before he was gone!

Eventually the two lawyers accepted six good people, including the Canon City financial super, to serve. There were six challenged jurors. Yet three of the original jurors remained! There were a dozen of us left and we all got excused, gratefully. It was 11 AM. I began my errand list.

I was glad I wasn’t on that jury; the trial was likely to go into today. I won’t get called again.

*We are using the Montero because the Escape is deadlined until I get the right front wheel bearing replaced next month.

My Summons

Donna went for the mail. As she sorted it, she began forming a sequence of expletives about one piece of mail. But instead of delivering them, she tossed this on my desk and said, cheerfully, “This is for you.”

My first invitation to do my citizen duty in Fremont County, CO. I once showed up for a grand jury panel in El Paso County and was dismissed with prejudice! Lol.

And the local gummint managed to hit a date with nothing else scheduled! Lol. Donna has gotten three of these and never had to serve.