Though its one of the parts of our justice system that make this country unique, the right to a trial by a jury of your peers often brings mixed emotions by those that have to serve. At some point or another, everyone is called upon to serve their community in the form of jury duty, but not everyone appreciates the opportunity. It’s a unique opportunity to watch the courtroom in action and find out how Judge Mike Tawil responds to the different attorneys, but more importantly, it gives you the ability to deliver justice to a fellow citizen. Many people complain about getting called to jury duty, but with the right attitude and some preparation, you can find yourself surviving and even enjoying your time on the panel.
The time between jury selection and either being released or held for service can be hours. You have limited breaks, often the only one being for lunchtime. You may find yourself becoming bored or tired, and any lapse of energy can keep you from focusing on the process or the facts. Keeping a reusable water bottle or bottled water with you can give your energy boost you need, as water hydrates the brain and helps improve blood flow. Hydration equates to better focus.
Even if you haven’t been called to the jury and are awaiting the selection process, keeping a pen and notepad on hand can keep you from losing your mind. If your mind wanders, you can use the paper and pen to make a grocery list or even take notes on what is going on in the courtroom. Bring your own pen or two, since no one will be handing you a new one if yours runs out of ink or doesn’t work.
Courtrooms are very public places, and you don’t know how many people touched that railing in front of your or used that door handle. Constantly washing your hands can become very drying, but this is the best way to avoid picking up germs. Using sanitizer can help get your between sessions, but you should also bring lotion to account for the loss of moisture from continuous washing.
For those that struggle with being still or keeping focus, having something to do can be helpful for both retention and nervous energy. You don’t want your gum to be an obvious distraction with cracking and popping, but quietly chewing on gum may keep your mind from wandering and your feet from constantly shuffling.
Bring a Charger
You won’t be allowed to have your phone with you in the courtroom during selection or during the trial, but if you have a break, you may be allowed to use your phone outside the courthouse. On lunch break, you can sit in your car and recharge by playing on your phone, checking emails, or calling a friend. You don’t want your phone to die and leave you bored. Bring a charger or charging case to make sure you have plenty of power for the day and the ride home.
Sitting in a courtroom for several hours can get uncomfortable, especially if you aren’t dressed for the environment. Dress professionally but with comfort in mind. Loose-fitting clothes and layers are the best choices for lengthy stays in the courtroom.
Bring Your Comfort Items
Think of the “just in case” items you may need. Throw some Tylenol and tissues into your handbag or into a bag in the car. Have a least $10 in ones in your wallet for the vending machines. Have breath mints too.
Jury duty doesn’t need to be a miserable process. Take pride in the opportunity to serve your community.