Lost grandeur of the grand jury
Jenna Orkin

Free at last!

It’s sixteen months since I was placed on a federal grand jury which, I soon learned, is as hard to get off of as a regular jury is to get on.

And not for want of trying. But a panicked Google search after the summons arrived yielded discouraging results: 

“Answer the judge’s questions truthfully,” recommended one veteran, “and wet your pants.”

While many jurors are soon released because their business is suffering or for some other hardship, stories also circulated of people who were denied exemptions even if a parent was seriously ill. One woman we heard about, who’d already served two years in another jurisdiction, told the court that she would visit her father in the hospital regardless of their policy.

“We can send the marshals after you,” the court replied. She went anyway and they didn’t follow through on the threat.
I had no pressing excuse and so spent one lunch hour trying to escape the afternoon session by scouring…