Jury Duty

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“I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” The following story is true. At the beginning of January 2012 I received a “jury summons” for February 14.  I decided to postpone my service since Tween Winter Camp was scheduled for the end of that week and as the director of that camp I knew it could become problematic if I was actually placed on a jury. It was simple  enough to go online and reschedule for April 16. Fast forward to April 16 at 1:30am. A phone call informs me my mother has fallen and is being transported to Valley Hospital Emergency Room. I get dressed, grab my phone and my jury summons and head to Valley Hospital.  I am not sure what the day will hold but know that I need to be there for my mom but also I don’t want to “just not show up” for jury duty. I will comment later to my sister (a lawyer/judge) that I was afraid of a bench warrant being issued because I was a no-show. She chuckles and says she wished everyone took it that seriously.

Thankfully things go smoothly and my mom is admitted to a room very early in the morning.  I make sure she is settled and around 6:30 am drive home to quickly change my clothes so I can look respectable to report for jury duty.  As the jury selection process begins I hand in my summons  and  I inform the clerk that my mother has just been admitted to the hospital and she excuses me and wishes me luck.

Fast forward again to mid August. Surprise, jury summons arrives in the mail. Now there is only one day that would be problematic for the whole month of September. That date is September 10 because I am scheduled for gall bladder surgery. Not my choice of dates but  that was the first date the surgeon had. Anyway you guessed it. September 10 is the date I am scheduled to report for jury duty. I try to postpone on-line but I can’t because I have postponed two times before so the next day I call. I start the conversation my telling the woman that everything I am telling her is true – camp, mother, surgery. Her reaction is “oh, my! let me reschedule you for March.” I paused and said could you just reschedule me for November. She is surprised I want to come in November. Yes, November is fine. What I am not telling her is I already know there is a conference I want to attend in March. She nicely says” I will schedule you for the week of November 5. November 6 is Election Day so you will only have to serve 4 days.” Thank you.

And two weeks ago the jury summons came to remind me I was scheduled for the week of November 5. In the State of New York, you have to call the night before to see if you need to report the next day. If you don’t have to appear you, call every day until your number comes up. Well, that makes it a little difficult to plan your week so I actually hadn’t scheduled tours or anything because who knew. When I called Friday night, I was hoping I would be required to show up on Monday because at that point I had no electric and at least the courthouse would be warm. I didn’t have to report on Monday. When I called Monday night they said no court on Tuesday or Wednesday. I called on Wednesday night and they said no court on Thursday. I called this evening and I have to report tomorrow at 2pm in Newburgh. To be honest, I am not a happy camper. I am trying to have a good attitude but really I was willing to go anytime this week and I have to go for the last 2 hours of the week. On the other hand, let’s  hope nothing weird happens between now and 2pm tomorrow because I need to finally do my civic duty. Will let you know how it goes.

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