How does a mom of six children, ages twelve and under, end up serving jury duty, you ask? Well, it all started a couple years ago when I received my first jury duty notice since college.
I grew up watching Matlock, Columbo, Perry Mason…you name it. I have always imagined how exciting it would be to sit on the jury in a real court of law. Just thinking of the intrigue of deliberating over evidence. Would there be a mistrial? a hung jury? Would I be the loan martyr, the only person between the accused and the electric chair?
So when I finally opened my notice a couple of years ago I felt robbed. Why couldn’t I have gotten one of these before I started having children? At the time I had five children, the youngest of which had yet to be weaned. This qualified as a no-brainer. Anyone with commonsense could judge that jury duty would not be a reasonable venture for me.
Upon contacting the court and asking for an exemption I was told to submit a letter. After writing and sending a two page letter describing my situation I was asked to get a letter from my doctor describing the harmful effects of a mother being away from her nursing baby for a day. After asking my pediatrician for said letter she told me she was my children’s doctor and thus would not write such a letter. My last ditch effort was to get a letter from my midwives sent to the courthouse. When the clerk received the letter I was informed that I might be excused this time but this would not keep me from being called in the future.
Let’s come forward to this past May when I received another notice. This time I have six children, the youngest of which is nursing. Naturally, It would be even less realistic to expect me to do jury duty. I decided since my daughter was closer to weaning than her brother had been the last time that I would attempt to serve. Maybe my number would not even be called, I reasoned.
The fateful evening came when I could call and learn of my demise. I called with my other ear plugged so that I could not possibly miss hearing the numbers that would be called. “All” it said. How is that possible? They were asking for all jurors to report.
All of the sudden my fate became a reality. I would be reporting at 7:30am, the next morning, at a courthouse at least 45 minutes away. Considering I rarely get out of bed before 8 am, this seemed like an interesting proposition.
How would I possibly get up and on the road in time? What about my little girl? What if the case had me return for several days? What if I were sequestered and kept away from my family for weeks? All of these questions tormented me as I tried to go to sleep the night before my now dreaded JURY DUTY…..