brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

civic duty

the Denver City and County building is an architectural gem.

this beautiful building sits across Civic Center Park from the Colorado State Capitol. I drive past it frequently. I have always thought it beautiful from the outside, but had never been inside, well, until today.

I was only slightly aware of the importance of the day ahead of me when I climbed the stately staircase in front of the building. despite feeling transported back to the era in which it was built while walking up the steps, reminders of the present were glaringly obvious upon walking through the doors. the x-ray machines stationed at every entrance, the backlit soda machines, the coffee stand.

but for the most part, the interior is of the same grandeur as the exterior. the marble-walled hallways seem wide enough for a two-lane road. the 20-foot tall ceilings remind those that pass under them of a time when everything wasn't built solely for efficiency, when beauty and style were considered in architectural design.

for about an hour this morning, I sat with about 300 or so other people in a very bland room in the building , awaiting our fate to be determined for the day or week. I've never done this before. I've never been called for jury duty until today. which is odd, given the many years since I turned 18.

everyone told me that I probably wouldn't even be called into a court room, that I'd be dismissed straight from the jury room around lunchtime.

well, I can tell you the courtrooms in the building have beautiful woodwork. they have the feeling of an old Perry Mason movie.

everyone told me that if I did get called into a court room, there was only a slight chance I'd actually serve on a jury. just say something opinionated and they'll dismiss you.

well, apparently my "opinionated" isn't opinionated enough. I wasn't dismissed. I was chosen to serve on the jury in a criminal trial.

it was a mildly interesting case, but learning about the judicial process was more interesting. although my sister is an attorney, and I have been an expert witness in cases, a criminal case is much different than anything I've ever even thought about. the trial itself, the legal aspects of it, and my fellow jurors were all intriguing and educational.

I guess I expected the cross-section of citizens chosen to be on a jury would be more similar to the people they interview on the news, not people that are engaging conversationalists. there was an attorney, a psychologist, a pathologist, a television producer, a boutique manager, and other normal and interesting people.

completing my civic duty for at least the year was not nearly as tedious as I had imagined it might be. in fact, it was rather interesting and rewarding, although I wonder if my perception might have been different if the trial had lasted 6 weeks instead of 6 hours?


Ms. Pan said...

Yeah, I've never actually had to serve--but I've known people that have had to be sequestered. NOT FUN! I think it would be cool to learn about the process, though. Good for you!

GlitterGlamGirl05 said...

As long as you got to meet some entertaining people, that's all that matters : )

Jen said...

That is pretty cool, but I bet you are glad it was a short one. I can't imagine being on a trial that drug out for weeks or months.

kt said...

i've been summoned 3 times but have gotten out of all three of them (because i was a student) without even having to go to the courthouse. i think it would actually be kind of fun and a nice change of pace to serve on a short trial.

Yoda said...

I loved the feeling of civic pride I got from jury duty, even though I never even got as far as a court room. They bought my lunch, and I got to sit out on the patio to eat it, on a rather nice day in San Diego.

And at 2, they let me go home.

I got props for doing my duty AND I got paid for the day while my only responsibility was showing up, answering when my name was called, and reading almost all of a great book.

I love this country. That's not's honest truth. I love this country because for most of us, jury duty is as tough as civic responsibility gets.