August 7, 2015
Two weeks ago, I fulfilled my civic responsibility as a citizen and served as a juror. As anyone whose life is disrupted and put into a basement dungeon during beautiful Minnesota summer days can attest, I was one miserable Millennial.
I know a lot of you haven’t had the privilege of serving. Worry not – I’ve chronicled the basics and my thoughts on the matter below. Cue “Law & Order” scene change sound.
In the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis, the jury room is located in the basement. There are no windows, and 80 to 100 people sit together at about 20 small round tables. Four TV monitors are strategically placed on the walls and share important juror information, such as “Don’t bring a gun to jury duty” and “Always have your summons with you.”
It’s a lot like a high school cafeteria. Awkward.
There’s nothing to do but sit next to a stranger and read the TV monitors, which state there are currently 182 cases pending.
182 pending cases for today?! I’ll be here FOREVER. Healthy dose of drama, sad Snaps to friends and deep sighs ensue.
The government staff proceeds with orientation and begins the random panel selections. Every 15 to 20 minutes, our awkward silence is interrupted as the room faces the front and waits for their name to be called. Fun fact: Your name may never be called for days.
What a waste of my life! When can I Liz Lemon out of this?!
Since it’s a nightmare to get on the spotty WiFi, there’s not much to do but stare at the scrolling messages on the TV monitors. A stock photo of bored-looking Millenials on a waiting-room couch fills the four screens with the message “please be patient.”
Blatantly discriminatory to my generation!
Hours go by and government staff appears again for more lovely announcements. It’s reiterated to NEVER talk about a trial in progress. Do not Google it, do not tweet about, do not look for any of the witnesses on Tinder (I think they should add that) because it WILL cause problems and you WILL be put back into the pool of jurors.
Nice try keeping me off the interwebs. BRB as I decide who I’ll sell my story to once this is over.
Then, after countless hours (sometimes days) of waiting, the moment comes when your name is finally called.
This is it! Action time! I’m ready, Judge Judy, let’s kick some ass!
The reality? More waiting, a slow security process, intensive questioning by a judge known as voir dire to find any hidden biases you may have and ultimately a majority of cases never actually go to trial.
So back into the jury pool you go with no satisfactory convictions under your belt.
Let’s hope Donald Trump has more fun.