A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I found out back in June that I was on call for jury duty from July-September. In the beginning of July I got a sumons for the 22nd. I live in one of the largest counties in the country and the county seat is 200 miles away so I was dreading having to drive down there. I reported that morning to find out that I was in a juror pool for a homicide trial that was actually scheduled to begin August 17th that would last 5-6 weeks, and all they wanted that day was for us to fill out an in depth personal survey. I was hoping from the survey that they would call and excuse me because I am the primary care giver for my son. No such luck. So for all that month I was worried sick about having to serve on this jury.
We had not been instructed to not look up anything related to the case so I actually googled the defendant and found out that he was 18 years old at the time of the crime in 2008 and was accused of shooting a 16 year old in the back of the head from a botched drug deal.
So last Tuesday I once again drive the 3.5 hours to Flagstaff. I was there all day long for the voir dire process. The defendant was in the court room the whole time which totally creeped me out. I don't think I've ever seen or met someone who has taken another persons life and it was quite terrifying for me. We only made it through a few of the questions in the process so I was dreading that I was going to have to return to Flagstaff today, but at 4:45pm the judge said he was going to stop the process because there were some jurors with extenuating circumstances that would qualify them to be excused so he was going to ask about their situations before adjourning for the day. He said the two things that he would consider were a medical condition, or a pre-planned vacation that could not be rescheduled, so again I thought I was out of luck, but he actually called my name. I was able to tell him about not having 5-6 weeks of childcare, and that I lived 200+ miles away so he excused me!
Don't get me wrong, I am proud to be an American and understand the importance of jury duty. I look forward to serving on a jury in the future. I just couldn't stand the thought of being away from my boys for 5-6 weeks, plus the financial burden of paying for all that child care that I normally provide. I have a great deal of respect for the men and women who will serve on this jury and pray that it goes quickly for them.