Well that wasn’t as bad as I expected.
Although I was picked for a trial it was a short one and we were able to finish it yesterday.
I have a few observations:
1. Trials are the most boring thing you can imagine. It takes a supreme effort to stay awake and pay attention to what’s going on.
2. Despite what you see on TV, what the lawyers say in court is meaningless. In fact the judge specifically told us to ignore anything they said. We were to only consider what was said from the witness stand and depositions entered into evidence. It makes the whole opening and closing remarks thing pointless. I guess lawyers like to talk and feel important so the court lets them have their time in the spot light. I couldn’t help thinking though, the trial could have been almost two hours shorter if the lawyers hadn’t been given the time to say things we were supposed to ignore anyway.
3. The casual dress thing is way out of hand. I was one of only three people out of a pool of almost 300 that wore a coat and tie. The jury summons actually had “No Shorts” printed on it. A lot of people were in jeans and t-shirts. I’m as casual as the next guy, my ISP is named “Tieless” after all. But there is a minimum amount of respect required in a court and that means a coat and tie for men and the equivalent for women (whatever that is). It’s not about respecting the judge, or the lawyers. It’s about respecting yourself and the jury system that allows the rule of law to function. It’s a solemn occasion and if you show up in casual dress you’re showing everyone that you have no self respect.
4. The State of Texas has established a statutory daily rate for pain and suffering: $6/day
(That would be the pay Texas mandates for one day of jury duty for those of you who rode the short bus.)