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Jury Duty

I reported for jury duty this morning. Things went much more smoothly than I expected. I don't know why, but the night before I was really worried about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

I did not oversleep. I found the courthouse ok. Actually just  finding the courthouse was not what I worried about. Since the courthouse is in the middle of the city, I worried about spending ridiculous amounts of time negotiating one-way streets to be able to get into the parking deck. I did have to go around the block once, but that's pretty standard for anyplace downtown. I arrived and parked with about 20 minutes to spare.

The security people were pleasant. They were much more pleasant (and less intrusive) than TSA agents. I just dumped my stuff into a bin and got it out again after I passed through the metal detector. They even helped me get all my loose change out.  I was picking it up a few coins at a time, and one of them just picked it up and poured it into my hands for me. This might have been more out of impatience than kindness, but I didn't care.

I've been in a couple of government building that ban all forms of tobacco, including smokeless. I was worried that might be the policy at the courthouse. I was wrong. They let me keep my skoal.

I waited outside the jury room for about fifteen minutes and they let us in. Nobody got grumpy in line, and the jury coordinator who checked us in was very pleasant.  And the jury assembly room was very nice. It was very large, with plenty of seating, and amenities such as computers, televisions, and vending machines.There was also complementary popcorn to eat while we watched the two movies they showed us.  I was reminded of what PJ O'Rourke once said about a missile launch: "Now THIS is the way to waste taxpayer money!".

One of the things I worried about most was missing work because I was chosen for a jury. Not even that happened. Some people were called to a courtroom early in the day, and I was not one of them. No one else was called for the rest of the day and we got to go home early. Granted, this meant I didn't get to finish watching the movie being shown (Wild Hogs), but it seems churlish now to even mention that.

I put some thought into this entry even before I went in. I was going to point out that trial by jury is the most justifiable positive right. From there I was going to argue that even the most libertarian among us (except maybe some anarchists and rothbardians*) could not object to jury duty being imposed on citizens.

But now, I'm not  thinking of  what I did today as a duty. It was more like a guilt-free day off where I got to hang around the big new fancy building downtown and goof off. It was like getting out of school when I was a kid. I'll probably get called again in two years, so maybe I'll have something more serious to say then.

*here's a link to an article by Murray Rothbard that contains (among many other things) his thoughts on jury duty. They are about 2/3 of the way into the page.