My Dream Life as a Juror

Jury Summons.

It was bound to happen. I mean, I thought I had moved frequently enough to avoid such a call to duty, but I guess my time in Atlanta has been long enough to move me to the top of the list. 

I have actually always really wanted to be on a jury.  I used to go with my students in LA to sit in on court cases.  Yes, you know how they say like “the people vs. your mama”? Well, it turns out everyone except your mama is part of the prosecution team, so you can just walk in and have a seat in the back.  (Now, in LA, I think they have different protocol when its, say, “the people vs. Lindsay Lohan.” I don’t think they let just anyone in….)

Anyway, it probably goes without saying that the whole situation is very un-TV like. The characters are much less “I-used-to-be-a-model-until-I-got-this-gig,” and more “ok….so I looked at this case about 5 minutes before I walked into this room….”

But what is unbelievable is the painfully detailed and slow question asking. I once watched a phone company representative grilled over the minutia of looking at someone’s cell phone records.  C’mon, people! We all know what it means to look at someone’s phone records. We have at some point – whether by choice or by accident – watched an episode of CSI.

So it was this kind of painstaking question-asking that created great suspense and drama in the courtroom of Judge Ito (in case you’re wondering… yes, from the OJ Simpson trial). 

“What did you do next?”
“I walked outside.”
“What did you see?”
“A blue Oldsmobile.”
“Was anyone inside?”
“Could you see them?”
“Who was inside?”
“Where was he sitting?”
“In the driver’s seat.”
“What happened next?”
“I picked up a crowbar off the ground.”
“Which side of the car where you on?”
“The passenger’s side.”
“What did you do next?”
“I walked around to the back of the car.”
“Are you referring to the trunk of the car?”
“What happened next?”
“I asked Johnny to pop the trunk.”
“What happened next?”


Yes, that’s right. A juror began shouting in the middle of this blow by blow account of walking through a warehouse parking lot with a crow bar. 

“I think I’m going to throw up!”

Judge Ito shooed her out of the room and quickly called a recess.  Sadly, our group had to leave, so I am left to wonder what was in the trunk, what happened with the crowbar, and what happened to Johnny.  But I soon may not be left to wonder what it’s like to be on a jury.

Given my fanatical love for the movie Runaway Jury and taking students to visit about six court cases, I have constructed the following expectations:

I expect to be sequestered.

I expect to hear defendants being referred to by their “street” names, which I will think is totally inappropriate.

I expect someone to shout “Objection!”

I expect to have my life or the lives of my loved ones threatened.

I expect phrases like “beat me with the trophy” and “I jumped on my scooter and got outta there!”

I expect my phone records to be accessed.

And I expect to disrupt the trial by shouting and running out of the room.

I guess I should call these my “hopes and dreams” rather than expectations because the form I had to fill out asked me what car insurance I have.  Still…. keeping my fingers crossed that at some point I will receive a note with letters cut out from magazines.

Unfortunately, this particular jury summons comes at an inopportune time. I guess if it seems like I'm going to be chosen, I can just mention that I love to blog and if listening to a trial is all I'm doing for a month, that's what I'll be writing about... 

Have you ever been a juror? How did it compare to your expectations? Did you witness things that surprised you about the justice system? 


  1. Laura Baker10:58 AM

    Sarah, my uncle was a juror on a murder trial a long time ago. He was foreman of the jury, and after the guy was convicted (of murdering people, chopping them up and putting them in his freezer, I think), my uncle really did get death threats from the guy in prison. True story. Maybe it could happen to you...

  2. Oh wow, Laura. Now my dream world is bumping into reality, and I feel a little nervous. Maybe insurance-related crimes are more my speed after all! I hope everything calmed down for your uncle!

  3. Laura8:15 PM

    Oh yes. He is fine, and the guy is probably still in prison. I hope you get picked for a jury on an interesting, but not so creepy trial. :)


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