Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday: Jury Duty, and Remembering my Step-Father

Patty Pan Squash Flowers

Today, when I looked out from my back door, I saw something bright yellow - the patty pan squash plant had about three or four flowers blooming at the same time!  Today's highs were in the 90s, so, by evening, the flowers had withered.  I'm hoping there were open long enough to get pollinated and I'll get a patty pan squash or two. 

I've had a fairly good day, today.  I woke up every couple of hours in the night because I was a bit anxious that I might oversleep, but I was able to wake up at 6:00 a.m. without too much difficulty.  I  got to the courthouse just as they started juror orientation, which takes about an hour or so.  Once orientation was over, they gave us a 30 minute break.


As luck would have it, I was in the first panel of potential jurors to be called.  I did explain about my upcoming doctor's appointment for medical clearance on Monday afternoon to the judge, but wasn't excused at once.  So, I had to stay the entire day while they interviewed the potential jurors and made the final jury selection.  They needed 12 jurors and 1 alternate.  We were a panel of 35 potential jurors.  One by one, our juror ID numbers were called, and each one was assigned a seat number, with the first one called getting seat #1 and so on.  I was number 33.
 
One by one we were all questioned - each one had to answer the basic questions: area of residence, marital status, occupation, occupation of spouse/significant other, included ex- or late spouses, number of adults in the household and their occupations, number of adult children (even if they are not living with you) and their occupations, if you've been a juror before, civil or criminal case, and if a verdict was reached.  Depending on the answers given, the judge asked additional questions.  Then, we had to answer another set of questions pertaining to any incidents in our past (arrests, and so forth), interactions with law enforcement personnel, if we understood that in this country, the accused was presumed innocent until proven guilty, and so on. 

Then, the lawyers got to question the jurors; the defense attorney questioned us first, then, the prosecuting attorney.  Then, each attorney received x number of chances to excuse jurors - starting with the 12 people seated in the jury box.  As one juror was excused, another would be called from the general pool, starting with person seated in the #13 spot and so on down the rows.  The last one to be called was #32, as the alternate juror!  I, and the other two remaining potential jurors were then excused and, as it was at the end of the day (after 4:00 p.m.) we were not required to remain in the jury room (some of those who were excused earlier, had to remain in the jury room as potential jurors for any other case until the end of the day).  So, I received my discharge papers (to be turned into my employer) and was able to come home!  I've now served my jury duty for the next 12 months!

I had a quiet evening after I came home.  My gardener friend came by to do the garden and I had him transplant the jasmine vine we had found growing behind the shed (there is another one growing there, under some ferns, but I might leave it there).  Then, he weeded and mulched another of the planting beds.  Later, I called a friend and chatted with her; returned an aunt's phone call, and called a cousin.
 
Today is my step-father's death anniversary.  30 years since he passed away, peacefully, in his sleep.  He never referred to me as his step-daughter; I was always his daughter and his rainbow. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- I wasn't selected to serve as a juror
- I am now free to schedule my medical appointments without worrying about scheduling conflicts
- Free parking provided for jurors
- Air conditioning at the court house
- Fans in the house

It was another hot day, today, with the temperature in the 90s.  The house felt stuffy, when I came home.  I opened some of the windows and switched on the fan (I can't open all the windows because the screens on some of them are torn and I am afraid Dancer will try to go out through the openings; getting the window screens replaced has been on my "to do list" for awhile).  It is almost 11 p.m. now and the house is finally starting to cool off. 

How was your Friday?  Have you served jury duty?





14 comments:

  1. Hi my friend. Your jury selection process is a lot more complicated than the process that I went through and yes, I did sit on a jury. We had a 2 day trial and it was interesting. I have been in the courtroom a lot over the past 6 or so years, but those were all times to support a good friend and her foster children (whom I had known for years before they became her foster children) and later, to be there when she was able to adopt one of the children.

    I love that your stepfather always loved you as his own. What a special relationship that is. I had grandparents like that...we never thought of each other as "step" anything. ;)

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    1. All the time I was sitting in that court room, all I could think of was, "I'm glad I don't have a toothache!"

      Yes, we had a very special relationship, my stepfather and I. I really miss him.

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  2. I have never been on a jury, but I have been called for duty. I spent the day waiting to be called onto a panel, but I never waw.

    Your stepfather's name for you of Rainbow says it all.

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    1. I really don't mind jury duty, which is a good thing because I seem to get called at least every other year! I went prepared to wait, with a new book of crossword puzzles and some office work to process! But of course, that can be done only in the waiting areas, not when inside the courtroom.

      Yes, he used to always say that I was his rainbow. :)

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  3. It is wonderful that biology and the heart operate on 2 entirely different levels. Dad's are the ones who are there and who love you.
    I have to make some screens for a couple of windows in my house. They have never had screens and I do like to open the windows just to air the house out.

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    1. You are right, Anne. I remember my father, too, of course, but he died when I was 7.

      The screens are good because they keep flies and other insects out. I must ask my neighbor E if he can replace my screens for me or ask my friend's husband. There are DIY videos out there, buy I think I need new frames, as well, and it seems a bit beyond my abilities to do it myself.

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  4. Yours is the first account I have read of the process of serving on a jury. Long day but glad you didn't get picked this time.

    Our local Ace Hardware does repair of window screens for very reasonable. You drop them off and pick up when they are ready. Might be worth checking where you live.

    Good to hear that you had a kind and loving stepfather.

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    1. Yes, I'm glad I didn't get picked this time, Sandy. I couldn't have served with a toothache and I've too much going on with my health. I need to be able to have that flexibility to schedule appointments as they become available.

      Thanks for telling me about your local Ace Hardware repairing window screens. I will check with ours and maybe even other places like Home Depot and Lowes (which are a bit closer to me than Ace).

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  5. I also found your account of jury duty selection although arduous! I hate waiting so that would be torture for me. I haven't served yet, although I got notices two or three times, several years ago. I was homeschooling at the time so I was able to mail in my explanation and they mailed me back my excuse each time. I no longer have that excuse so I'm sure it won't be long now until I get called up. I just hope it's not one of those cases that takes a long time. I love crime stories, etc. but I wouldn't be excited about being on a jury at all. But I will do my duty. My daughter found a letter in the mail from our county's courthouse when we got back from our trip and I thought it was a jury summons but it was just a form she had to fill out indicating such information as what you shared at the beginning of your process: personal info, occupation... I guess they gather that information first here? Not sure if we'd be asked the same questions by the attorneys during the selection or not.

    As far as step-parents go, I agree that it was neat that you had such a close relationship with your stepdad. As for me, "step" has always been just that "step". I was made very conscious that I had a "real" mom and a "real" dad by my parents and that the other parent's spouse was just a step-parent. We didn't see my dad and stepmom very often but I did have an excellent relationship with my stepmom and then I was estranged from my dad for many years as an adult. When I visited my stepmom during her final year (we already knew she was dying of pancreatic cancer), I was first there for the American Mother's Day so I brought her a Mother's Day gift for the very first time in our lives and told her that I had secretly always thought of her as a second mom and we both sobbed like babies. My stepdad is a very kind man, but he was very passive and not an influence at all in my life. I have a very good relationship with him and actually enjoy spending time with him more than with my mom, to some extent, nowadays!

    But as a step-parent myself and Greg being a stepdad, that's a different story. With Greg's daughters, I had to face a very deranged and threatening ex-wife who accused us, and got the daughters to accuse us of, many horrible things and it took a very long time for this to be resolved. Consequently, I was never in a position to ever be close to his daughters and these days I don't want to have a relationship with them. I feel I did my duty by them when they were children and teens and now that they're adults, we can all go our own way.

    My kids really like Greg but their own dad is very much in the picture and a great dad and no one is taking his place. They don't care for their stepmom all that much, though.

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    1. If you do get called for jury duty, I hope you won't have to spend time waiting, but go prepared with a book to read or something. :)

      I imagine having a step-parent when ones biological parent is still alive must feel a bit strange. I'm sorry you had such a difficult time with Gregg's daughters.

      My half-sister was the only one of my mother's step-children to meet my step-father, but she and her husband got along quite well with him.

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  6. I loved hearing about your account of jury selection because I have never had to serve as yet. When I was younger, I would get those initial letters in the mail. But because of my Sweetie's job at the time, I was always exempted. Before he became a Millwright, he worked in various capacities with "lawbreakers" (group homes and institutions for juvenile offenders, group homes and treatment centres for parolees) When he took a break from that line of work to return to heavy equipment, we just never received any more requests. Maybe they got tired of being rejected?? I think I would love to be a juror because I love watching all TV shows forensic. However, I absolutely couldn't be impartial if it involved a child. (abuse, molestation, or the like)

    I have a step-dad who had no part in raising me as I had already left home and had a family of my own. But I loved him because he loved my mother, was good to her and made her happy.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the account, Susan, because I almost didn't write the whole description. I've been on jury duty so many times that I tend to assume everyone else has been, too, and know all this. I was once on a child molestation case; it's hard, but one really has to pay close attention to the testimony and be impartial.

      It sounds like you've had a good relationship with your step-dad. :)

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  7. Proud you got your jury duty done.. That is always a relief.ha I have served on jury duty.
    Have a great day

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    1. Thank you, Judy. I was glad to have been excused this time.

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