Jury assembly rooms for all | Living with Gleigh
By GRETCHEN LEIGH
Covington Reporter Columnist
September 30, 2012 · 7:08 PM
I had jury duty a couple weeks ago. They say on the summons that you are selected by random, but I don’t buy it. This is not the first time I’ve been summoned to jury duty. The summer of 2001, when my children were small and my mother was living with us, I served on a jury at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. A couple months after that, I was summoned to the King County Courthouse in Seattle, which, because of my kids, I was unable to manage.
Since those two summons, I’ve been summoned three additional times, including this summer. This one was the first time I’ve been available to attend since the first one I served when my mother lived with us. I believe I had “sucker” written on my file because I served once. I know people who have never been summoned. It’s like replying to a survey from your HMO about one office visit; suddenly you’re inundated with surveys.
Anyway, I had much time during my jury duty to contemplate our justice system, but more specifically, the jury assembly room. Of the three panels they actually assembled in the two days I was there, all three were resolved before they even picked the jury from the panels. Maybe defendants get freaked out when they realize a jury is about to be chosen?
I'm sure the lawyers and the judges are doing a lot behind the scenes we don't see, but it all seems very slow and boring in the jury assembly room. There we were just sitting and waiting to be called upon. We couldn't leave the room until told; we couldn't get food until told, not even downstairs at the espresso stand. We were under the complete control of the courts.
Having served before, I was prepared with my own food and entertainment, so I observed the phenomenon of the jury assembly room and I started thinking, “Maybe I need a jury assembly room at my house?” It would be handy to have people just sit in a room and wait for me to assign them a task.
I could've had them do the laundry while I was gone on Monday morning. I'd just poke my head in the door and say, "Number 3, you need to sort the laundry, number 19, go ahead and get the wash going. I'll have more tasks when I get home, but number 7, stand by for folding this evening."
I could've had them plan and cook dinner those two days I was gone instead of me arriving home with no dinner plans. "Hey, number 32? You need to plan something for dinner. There's several kinds of meat in the freezer, feel free to pick something. If you can't decide, number 25 and 49 can help you. Number 61 can figure out the side dishes for you. Number 76 will cook."
They could also have taken care of the pile of mail, receipts and catalogs on my desk. "Number 26, just look at all the receipts and save the ones with big-ticket purchases on them, the rest you can toss, except for the ones with my name on them. Number 10 will shred those. Get rid of the catalogs, but number 37 please tear off my name and address label on the outside and make sure to look for a label on the inside order form. Number 5 can shred those. Same with any junk mail number 83. Save any bills for number 42, she'll pay them."
"Number 24, please clean the kitchen before number 76 starts cooking. As for the rest of you, you may be excused for an hour and a half lunch. Please be back by 1:30, I'll have more tasks to give you this afternoon. In the meantime, feel free to entertain yourself or move about the room."
Jury assembly rooms for all!
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com. Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.Contact Covington Reporter Columnist Gretchen Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org.