Roger L. Simon

Jury Blogging

Early this morning I was at the Stanly Mosk Superior Court Building in downtown LA because my number came up for jury duty. In past years, I have always somehow “lost” the government mailings about this duty — my work was too important, at least to me — but I had heard from friends you couldn’t get away such a laissez-faire attitude anymore. They stick you with a stiff fine. So I went. And although I did postone serving a couple of months because of business commitments, I was more impressed than I expected to be about how prospective jurors were treated. Sure the city court had many aspects of the dingy bureaucratic experience we have all come to expect when dealing with public services in this country, but they did seem to make an effort to be respectful and welcoming to jurors. The jury room has Internet bays (paid, of course) and a scattering of library books for those who didn’t bring their own. (But no Twelve Angry Men or I, the Jury that I could see.) And the videos they showed the jury pool were patriotic, but nauseating. They made you actually want to serve. I’m now looking forward to going back and not to write a book or movie about the experience — we’ve had more than enough of those — but more for my own edification and to feel I’ve done my part.