Last week I was summoned, paneled and selected as Juror #7 in a civil suit case against a major corporation in Clayton Co. It was exhausting and definitely educational. Here are 12 takeaways from my turn at civic duty:
1. The court personnel who greeted, registered and oriented us were professional, friendly and generally very helpful.
2. Voir Dire-was painstakingly long. The questions ranged from the obvious disqualifies to the: "why in the world are they asking us that?"
3. Our Judge was quite friendly and mindful of us as Jurors. Regularly, she asked us how we were doing and if we needed a break.
4. Strategy is employed at all times by Lawyers: wardrobe, demeanor, tone, word choice, non-verbals and volume at sidebar. It's all part of the show for the Jury.
5. Home Spun and disarming Plaintiff Counsel comes across better than high paid, high power, hard nosed, aggressive Corporate (Defendant) Counsel.
6. Depositions and live testimony almost always contradict somewhere-Lawyers like to point this out and then make eye contact with the Jury as if to say; "Did you catch that?"
7. After hearing testimony from Police I'm convinced they are overworked, undermanned and may have to focus on efficiency to the detriment of effectiveness.
8. The case we heard could have been completely avoided by clear, thorough communication by all parties involved.
9. Jury duty is exhausting.
10. The Bailiffs were retired Police Officers--ours were funny, but serious.
11. It gets really serious when the case is handed to you to decide--you feel the weight when the Jury room door is locked.
12. I'm thankful for our court system.