Jury Duty. Or Why I Haven’t Served on a Trial Since 1996

There apparently was no need for me to buy earplugs.

After going through the juror’s orientation, they had us return to the waiting area. We sat around until 11:45, when they told us that they were giving us an extended lunch. “Come back at 2:00.”

I went for a buffet lunch at a nearby Indian restaurant, and then returned to the juror room. Shortly after 2:00, they told us that the case we were selected to serve was settled without a trial. We were also told that we had served a valuable role by being ready to serve and that our jury duty was done. We are now excused from serving for four years. “Thank you for your service.”

In two tours of jury duty in New York, I have yet to get to voir dire. Instead, I sit in the room for a day or two and then head home. I last served on a real deal, jury in like 1996, in Santa Barbara Superior Court. I tried to get out of it, and ended up being the foreman. It was a great experience for me.

I would be lying if I didn’t expect something like this to happen. Tomorrow is Independence Day. A reasonable person would guess that lawyers and judges would prefer to start a case on a day that wasn’t in the middle of Fourth of July weekend. Moreover, I heard from a well-respected NYU professor that most judges take their vacations between now and Labor Day and, thus, very few cases are heard during this time (or during the December holidays). If you don’t want to sit in a trial, get scheduled to serve during these times of the year. And bring your iPad and some earplugs.