This time last month, I received something dreaded in the mail. No, it wasn’t a severed head; it was a summons for jury duty.
Visions of white Ford Broncos and long days in uncomfortable chairs danced in my head, but it turns out that’s too big for the municipal level.
Still, you could say I wasn’t too thrilled about the two weeks of service, but I sucked it up and reported for duty. Plus, I was looking forward to seeing good-looking men in suits walking about the building.
Most of the judges were at a conference at King’s Island (I wonder if they wear their robes while riding The Beast?), so nobody was called upon for a trial.
In place of judgment time that week, those of us who came in were treated to movies, long lunches, and tours of the Statehouse, the Ohio Supreme Court and Ghost Town (aka City Center).
We were also allowed to visit a few courtrooms in session to get a feel for what we might be dealing with. Let me tell you, I went to one for misdemeanor arraignments and never want to go back. I especially liked the woman telling her husband she was going to punch him in the face if he didn’t shut up. (At least I think it was her husband.)
During the week, I met a fellow juror from Grove City. We spent the rest of the week walking downtown and gossiping.
My adventures of exploring the wildlife were over when I was impaneled the next week for service. That’s right, juror number two here on an OMVI case. Scary, huh?
As boring as it was at times, I paid attention to the testimony of the trooper who arrested the defendant and the evidence on the video while he administered his field sobriety test. Based on all of those items, I decided he was guilty of being too impaired to drive. Really, the deciding factor for me was when the trooper asked the defendant if he felt he should have been driving and he said “probably not.”
There were eight people on the panel, and seven found the defendant guilty. Now, I really have no problem with the oddball juror going against the grain, but I did have a problem with that particular juror who was obnoxious and quite smelly.
Thanks to this smelly juror, we deliberated for over five hours. It ended in a hung jury.
After the trial, we got to speak with the attorneys on the case. That’s when I learned the defendant had a blood alcohol level of 1.6 (or something higher), and his wife was on tape telling the trooper he was more trashed than she was.
With all things considered, I had a blast. I thought it would be so flipping boring, and it sort of was, but I had a good time. I met some great people, was humiliated (always fun), got hit on by the gyro vendor, and earned $20 a day.
In fact, as I’m writing this, I miss being on jury duty.
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.