by sam on 07/30/2006

While I have started Italian classes, there hasn’t been much movement on other aspects of my secondment to Italy. I do plan on becoming much more of a pain in the ass this week, as it’s almost August, and I’m thinking that someone should start figuring out my departure date, housing situation, visa situation and all the other fun stuff that is involved with the whole moving to another country thing.

Of course, not yet having a precise departure date is probably a good thing at this point, as…yep…I got my juror summons in the mail yesterday. And I have to report on August 30.

Now, for those of you who don’t know how the NY jury system works, you get your summons, and you have to report for three days, and then, during those three days, you may get picked for a jury. Once you’ve been through the process once, you can’t get called again for four years, and it’s been about six years since the last time I had to do this, so I was definitely due. The problem is, they got rid of all exemptions (lawyers used to be automatically exempt), so you have to either go or use your one postponement.

The problem there? The postponement has to be within two to six months of the original date (during which time I will absolutely not be in NY). So it certainly makes more sense for me to go and at least get it over with (and if I get as far as voire dire, I can always point out my imminent departure from the jurisdiction). oy.

Now, the last time I went, it was actually enjoyable (I think lawyers are the only
ones who really get a kick out of the process, being that we’re students of it and all). The first time my name got called was for a civil action – a car accident with your requisite yellow-pages lawyers. The lawyers went around the room and asked us what we did for a living, and when they got to me, I said I was a lawyer. They asked what kind of law I practiced, and I said corporate. At which point the defense lawyer made some snide remark about “oh, so you’re a
real lawyer for one of those big law firms.” heh. I just smiled and said, yeah, I guess that’s about right. They then pulled me out of the room to have a “conference” in the hallway with me about how clearly I couldn’t be “fair” in this case. Um, I’m pretty sure it was their bias that was showing, but whatever. I just went along with it because I wasn’t really itching to spend more time with these people. It was just kind of funny. Of course, the real reason that folks like me are rather infrequently selected for juries is that we know waaay too much about the law, and they don’t want people thinking above and beyond jury instructions.

So, I went back into the general pool, and then got called for a criminal case with about 50-100 other people. We sat around for a full day and a half, and I never even got voire dire’d, because they prosecutor and the defense attorney ended up settling
(which is pretty common). That took me to the end of my second day, after which they gave me my letter and said I could go home. This often happens. While legally required to show up for three days, they will only make you stay for day three if there’s something seriously wrong. So most people who aren’t picked get to go home after day two.

With my luck though, I’ll end up getting picked this time because it’s just such a damn hassle.

The silliest part though, is that I knew this was going to happen. About two weeks ago I had a dream that I was called for jury duty while I was away. I don’t think it was any sort of premonition, I just had gotten my jury questionnaire (which they send you after you move to a new place), and I realized that the last time I had been called was definitely more than four years ago, so I must have had jury duty on the brain.