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Jury Duty call

Several weeks ago I received a notice of a call to Jury Duty. In Massachusetts we have a one-day / one-trial system - you have to go for one day and unless you get on a jury you just stay there that day. You are allowed to postpone it once, and I elected to move it from next week to the end of October. According to the notice you can do this online and they gave me a password and a badge number to use.

Actually, I received two notices 2 days apart, the first to be returned in 10 days, and the second in 5 days. When I went to their web site it said this feature is under construction and will be ready soon. I also tried to call the telephone number several times but it was always busy. I wanted to call to find out if I postponed would I be assigned the same court house. This seems to be typical Massachusetts governmental service - nothing much works very well.

In Middlesex county there are courthouses in Lowell, Framingham, somewhere else and Cambridge - my assigment was for Cambridge which has the most court rooms and I was gambling that it would stay that way since it is easiest to get to. And it did - my assignment is still in Cambridge.

This is my fourth call to Jury Duty. The first time was before the 1 day / 1 trial system and I had to go to the Framingham court for three weeks. It was a low level appeals courts and I was on about 8 juries - mostly DUIs.

The second time I got the 1 trial thing; it was a homicide trial that lasted for 6 weeks including about a week of being sequestered. I will be writing about this soon; it was a very interesting experience.

The third time was one day in Lowell - I think that day, there ended up being no trials.

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Yes, well, Boston doesn't give two shits about the most convenient courthouse. BB got sent to serve in Chelsea - which is convenient to No One, not even people who live in Chelsea.

How interesting. Someone else had theorized that lawyers, defense or prosecution, don't like having software engineers on the jury. I've only been called up once since 1985 when I moved into the state, and never made it our of the waiting room. As I recall, people are called from the waiting room by lottery, interviewed by the lawyers who get to disqualify you or not.

It had poured that day, and I had no way to dry myself off. I waited in a chilly concrete block and linoleum tile room. I can safely say the state is not wasting tax money on nice chairs or heat.

It was a complex case: two homicides, conflicting evidence, and multiple accused; they apparently were happy with educated jurors. There was another software engineer on the jury.

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