Grand Jury Duty

My ex-wife called me yesterday to let me know she was being called to serve in the county grand jury for the month of October. She was nervous and asked me what to expect. I served on the county grand jury for three weeks back in August of 1984. It's not something you ever forget. I tried to assuage her nervousness by telling her that it is likely she won't be chosen. But, that did not calm her down.

I remember taking my summons to the county clerk back in the first week of that August of 1984. He told me that they would be drawing names out of a canister and each name (15 total, 12 jurors and 3 alternates) would be called out. I remember looking around the large room and estimated there were probably 50-60 people there. I liked my chances of not being called. But, as luck would have it, I was the second name called. I was indifferent about serving. Had I known I would be serving for three weeks, I probably would have been upset. Before the names were called, people rushed up to the presiding judge to try and get out of jury duty in case they were called. One man said he was unable to read or write. The judge said that won't matter. If need be, whatever needed to be read, would be read to the illiterate man. After that, over half in line trying to get out of jury duty simply walked back to their chairs. If an illiterate man can't get out, no sense in trying to get out of duty simply because you have a bad ankle or whatever.

The thing I remember most, out of all the cases that were brought up for indictment or not to indict, were the large number of child abuse cases. I would say at least 40% of cases were related to child abuse. I was stunned to discover so many cases of child abuse were right here in my county. And it was disgusting to learn most of the abuse cases of children were sexual abuse. I was just mortified by it. And I was ready to leave jury duty after hearing some of the most vile, disgusting stuff in my life. On another note, child support cases were brought up a number of times. One of the few funny episodes was a social worker detailing that a father of six children by six different women needed to be brought to justice. He was 16 years old. The police caught him riding his bicycle back from a liquor store one Saturday afternoon. One of the few moments of levity during that time. Grand jury duty is something we are all obligated to perform when called upon. But, be prepared for some shocking evidence to be presented to you if you ever get a summons.


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