News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
26th May 2010

Doing one’s civic duty

posted in Uncategorized |

I spent the day at the World Trade Center in Woburn yesterday as I was called for Jury Duty. The last time I had to show up was several years ago, and the experience this time was quite a bit different. Previously, I had to drive to Cambridge, pay for parking and be shuffled around through tiny, antiquated rooms by a seemingly incompetent guard or bailiff. It got to be a bit of a joke as our group was sent here and there as if they didn’t quite know what to do with us–finally, they just sent us home. The new courthouse in Woburn is modern and comfortable and they seem to have the system well-calibrated as groups are called to courtrooms, then returned to the pool if not selected for a case. The parking is ample and free and there is easy access from route 128. One flaw is that there is no cafeteria in the building so we had to go in and out of security to go to the one cafe for lunch. My other complaint is the air-conditioning; it was freezing in the courtroom. They now show a video about how important it is to be there with Chief Justice Marshall assuring us that we were not wasting our day! Since Massachusetts has adopted the “one day, one trial” system, those not chosen for a case had satisfied their obligation for the next three years.

My randomly-generated juror number was relatively high, so I wasn’t chosen for a case until late in the morning. Then, it was complex case that was projected to last awhile. People chosen for the case looked glum. The juror selection process went on for the whole day. At the last minute, I was let go. I guess I’m glad, but I think it would be interesting to be a juror–maybe in another three years…

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