I, the jury

Nope, didn't make it.

 I reported as summoned for jury selection last Thursday morning and read a novel (one of The Outlander episodes) on my e-reader until we were dismissed, early on. (Didn't finish it.)  A prior group had been called away and apparently we were no longer needed that day. However, we were called up the next day, Friday. You get a panel number and a call number by which you are identified (no names, but your occupation is divulged; I am a WRITER, though I have been called worse).  And then it began.  Have you gone through this? I never have, and I found it fascinating.  

 Twenty people are called up by their numbers and they are allowed to beg off, if they have a legitimate reason. It has to be a case of hardship or dire necessity, not merely inconvenience, to convince the Judge before anyone is let go.  When an adequate number of candidates has been assembled, each one in turn has to affirm that he or she will tell the truth, etc., and then be read a cautionary, generic statement about the case. This case was to be the trial of a black man who pleaded "not guilty" of two murders.  The statement warned that some people might have derogatory feelings about people of colour and said that if the potential juror was not capable of weighing the evidence presented without being influenced by bias or prejudice, he or she should say so.  Then,  if they pass that, two "triers," the last two jurors accepted, can say whether they think the new kid is acceptable or not acceptable.  Then, if that obstacle is cleared, each person has to face the prisoner while the defence or council decides whether or not to issue a challenge.  A challenge is a rejection .

It took all morning, from about 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., when we were allowed to break for lunch, to collect six jurors.  Returning at 2 p.m. we listened for over an hour while another 20 people were eliminated, all but one.  Most of them eliminated themselves as they begged off.  One man, for example , was going on a hugely expensive trip and had paid for it already so he couldn't stick around for six weeks.  Another man, who looked to be about 80 years old, said he and his wife were the sole caregivers of his blind father who was over 100 years old and who had just fallen and couldn't cope. (Wow.) Other people had business reasons, for example, they were on commission and couldn't afford not to be working for six weeks with no income.  Personal caregiving and personal financial hardship were the commonest reasons for begging off.  I was fascinated with these glimpses into people's lives. 

So, by the end of an hour, what with the loss of these people and the inability of some to weigh evidence with an open mind, or the rejection by defence or Crown, only one more juror had been added to the roster. Another lot of numbers was drawn and people were called. (Many were called but few were chosen - is that where that came from?)  By this time, I knew that I would be one of them. I just knew.  Even so, when my number was called I squealed. I was, possibly, Juror Number Twelve. 

So I went up and I affirmed I would tell the truth and I listened to the admonition and allowed as how I would weigh the evidence with a balanced mind. My "triers" deemed me acceptable, but the Crown prosecutor challenged me, so  I was rejected, and surprised.

Only later did I realize I had been let off from six weeks of horror. I'm sure the evidence will be horrendous. Also, I have a screenplay to write, among other things.  Well!!

I woke this morning feeling quite...reprieved. It was, in fact, a good day, until the Blue Jays lost the game tonight. 

And so to bed.