City Desk

Doing Jury Duty In D.C.

Someone over at LivingSocial's Social Studies blog got jury duty—which naturally means they had to write a cheeky guide to making it through the process.

Do you get to watch TV?
No.

Why not?
Because, as a court clerk explains, last year someone complained about the PG-13 nature of what was being shown on the TVs. Since then, the policy has been to keep the TVs turned off.

What was being shown on the TVs?
Daytime television, including Judge Judy, which was thought to have “unfairly influenced” potential jurors, says the clerk.

So then what are the TVs used for?
You will watch a ten-minute “orientation video,” which explains the importance of the jury process and concludes with this gem: “Remember, if you are not selected for jury service today, it is in no way a reflection of your personality.”

(There is WiFi, though.)

Also, apparently former Mayor Adrian Fenty was present on the same day to do his civic duty (and talk about bikes) before being sent home. Is being a former mayor one of those jobs—like law and journalism—that seems to get people dismissed right away?

Photo by JCardinal18 via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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  • Ward One Resident

    Lawyers in this town rarely get dismissed from jury duty... If they couldn't include lawyers in addition to those who have previously been convicted, they'd never be able to seat a jury in this town. There was actually an attorney on a jury I served on it was surprisingly helpful to have him there. He was a patent attorney so obviously different training, but the basics are the same which was helpful to us non-law types.

  • TM

    I'm a lawyer and I served on a full jury trial in DC a few years ago. So no, being a lawyer isn't a get-out-of-jury-duty free card.

  • Shani Hilton

    Gotcha.

  • LOL

    Why can't the people who don't like te movies have a quiet room where they don't have to watch. When i go I take a book and my laptop so I can work. But talk about somebody ruining an already long day.

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