Jury duty, day 1

12 Jul


Yesterday was the first of my two-day jury service, the responsibility side of Rights & Responsibilities.

Sunday night I packed my bag to ensure a day full of intellectual stimulation: 2 books, my computer and my knitting. Yes, one can bring knitting into the court once more, as long as it is on fixed, circular needles. I saved a project just for this occasion, since I couldn’t bring one of the sock or glove projects I really wanted to work on. But here is my beef: if I were a trained killer, instead of a professional educator, I could use any pointy thing to do damage. Why are knitting needles so discriminated against, since pens and pencils could just as easily be used for no good? As a knitter, I feel this is a great injustice.

When I went to bed Sunday night, I set my alarm for the first time since I left for Canada. It seemed to go off awfully early yesterday, but I answered the call and went through the regular morning routine of a school day.

Because the Multnomah County courthouse is downtown, I decided to take the bus. Parking is expensive and the County will reimburse a juror the bus fare, but not pay for parking. That adds an extra $5 to the daily juror compensation of $10/day. Had I served during the school year, I would have had to turn over the money, minus my bus fare, to my employer. Because it is summer I get to keep all of it! Woohoo!

Boarding the bus in my neighborhood was banal, but once we arrived downtown, things got more interesting. The first curious person I saw was a man, in a black suit, wearing a bowler. Seriously. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in a bowler outside of a movie. And yet , there he was walking down the street like it was London 1916, not Portland 2016.

Just behind him, a man in blue pants sported a Captain America t-shirt in the same color as his pants. Did he fancy himself Captain America? One never knows in downtown Portland.

After clearing the courthouse security, I made my way to the jury room. I found a good seat, on a sofa, with a coffee table for convenience. Once settled, I sat back to watch the other potential jurors flow in. There was a woman who looked like a thinner, shorter Brienne of Tarth! Fortunately, she left her sword at home per instructions.


Before too long, a judge came in to talk to us. Then, we watched a movie about jury service. And then the waiting began. I read.I knit. I listened to my audiobook while I knit. I watched Tiny House on the TV mounted on the wall. They came in twice to call people to courtrooms, but I wasn’t one of them. We got two breaks.

At 11:30, they announced that they would keep 10 people and send the rest of us home. My name wasn’t called again. A young man sitting near me was one of the 10 and he looked sad. I wanted to say to say “See you tomorrow” to him as the rest if us filed past him.



7 Responses to “Jury duty, day 1”

  1. Lisa Cole Orchard July 12, 2016 at 6:07 am #

    Thanks for sharing your day with us. I remember I was called for jury duty once and it was interesting to see how the lawyers worked when they tried to select people. The questions they asked were interesting. I’m glad I didn’t get called to be a jurist. My case was a rape case and it was about a young girl who’d had too much to drink and the boy was arguing consent. (I could tell just from the way the lawyers asked questions of the jury panel.) It would’ve been a hard case to hear. 🙂

    • Adrienne July 12, 2016 at 6:12 am #

      It is interesting to go, but I don’t actually want to have to serve. I will if I have to but I am hoping I don’t.

  2. lynnedorfman July 12, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    I loved the description of the people in Portland! I also enjoyed your commentary about knitting needles as deadly weapons. An interesting read with just-right detail!

  3. Christine July 12, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing your day. I hope you bought a coffee with your riches!

  4. arjeha July 12, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    I am not good at sitting around and waiting which is what I did when I was called for jury duty years ago. Any you say, anything has the potential of becoming a weapon. Sounds like you encountered some interesting people.

  5. newtreemom July 12, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

    I once had jury duty in that courtroom. I don’t remember the details, it was a long time ago. My husband worked at the downtown library. He rode the bus downtown and like you, would see interesting people. One time he listened to a guy talk during the ride they shared. As he got off the bus, the man pulled a roll of bills out of his pocket and tried to give my husband a hundred dollar bill because “nobody else ever listened to him.”

  6. Terje July 13, 2016 at 1:48 am #

    After reading your slice I will always associate jury duty with knitting. An unexpected and memorable detail.

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