Monday, March 20, 2017

I could have sent in the form to have Jury Duty postponed

Most of you can guess how I feel about Jury Duty.  I could have bailed out on service for a few months, but I'd rather get it out of the way now - while commuting on the NYC Subway during rush hour isn't intolerable.

The problem with jury service is the location. The district court is in Lower Manhattan - the cesspool of NYC commutation on a busy day. What makes it worse is that I'd have to take the overcrowded Lexington Avenue line and be uncomfortable for the entire ride downtown. Sadly, this court is located near other court facilities (State and City), and like businesses of a kind tend to concentrate near each other.

- - - - - -

Jury service is going to cause problems for me in many ways.  I need more sleep than I usually get when I worked downtown, and have a hell of a hard time getting up in the morning. Trying to stay awake during any service will be hard for me, as it is designed to be a totally passive role. The only time jurors have any activity or control over their time is when the case is in the hands of the jurors. And this passivity can and will put me to sleep when I'm sleep deprived.

The next problem is the length of the commute.  In my last job, it took me about 2 hours to get from my door to my desk. Given the walking I expect to be doing, I expect the commute length will be the same (give or take a few minutes). I will not be able to have a social life for the life of service. And this sucks.

Now, I am addicted to my cell phone for information. I don't mind turning it off. But I do mind being told not to bring it with me, so that I can use it when not in active jury service. This is a great imposition for many people, as they need to be able to be in touch with others on an asynchronous basis.

- - - - - -

Being unemployed with no nibbles, I have no problems about serving. It's just the inconvenience of service that is the problem for me. I am taking a PMP Prep class, and I know that my study time will be affected. But if I were to be called for a case that could go on for months and could result in sequestration (as my father almost had to deal with when they tried a notorious "Dapper Don"), I'd make myself out to be the most biased person in the world, just to get off the jury.  (There is a limit to how much of my life I'll let the government take from me.) Hopefully, my upcoming service will not pose unreasonable demands on my life...

What I find interesting is that my service is supposed to start on a Thursday.  When I was called for a local court, they brought in 50+ of us and selected 6 (with 2 alternates) before dismissing the rest of us.  And this took place on a Monday morning. I wonder whether this seemingly unusual schedule is to find out things about the jurors before assigning them to cases.

- - - - - -

A while back, one attorney who reads this blog made soft criticism in regard to me wanting to get out of jury service. It's not that I mind serving on a jury. It's because of all the headaches they put people through when they are called upon to serve.

Years ago, I dated a woman who made me look thin. (I never should have dated her, but that's another story.)  She hated the idea of jury duty, and would do whatever she could do to bail out on her duty to society. (My ex girlfriend was of Italian background, and she was prejudiced against almost anyone of color.) She was called to serve in the Bronx (near Yankee Stadium) and figured that she'd ask for a postponement, then get lost in the system. Well, the friendly clerk helped her records get lost in the system, and she was never called again. With the exception of prejudice, we share a common problem - transportation issues make it difficult for us to get to the courts. She could never commute on the subway because of her health. Whereas, I dread being packed like a sardine for any amount of time, and dread the lethargy that comes when I can't be active.

- - - - - -

In the end, I support Jury Trials.  Unlike my ex girlfriend, I do not think that jurors are people too stupid to be doing anything else. I just think it's a necessary evil we must endure. I only wish that it was designed more with the comfort and convenience of the juror in mind, instead of the legal process being conducted by judges, lawyers, and other court personnel.

PS: I had a complication to take care of - Unemployment wants to meet with me on one of the days I'll be at Jury Duty.  I guess I'll have to deal with this paperwork headache as well.

PPS: I looked at NYS's guide for Unemployment Insurance claimants, and found out that I'm still eligible to collect UI while on Judy Duty.  Now to see if I can get the appointment rescheduled....


  1. You may want to contact the jury clerk and ask if your service can be transferred to the Fed. Courthouse in White Plains.

    1. I'd also have a problem with that right now, as I have a class that
      meets once per week in NYC, and I'd have to be able to get there by 6.

      Either way, this service is very inconvenient. I just want to get it
      over with now. But if there is even a hint that I'll be on a
      sequestered jury, I will make such a big stink that I can't provide an
      impartial verdict - and take the risk of being held in contempt. I
      can't afford to NOT be looking for work, and I have my personal
      affairs to attend to.