Tales of tech horror: Jury Duty

Yesterday I got called up for jury selection. I wasn’t particularly worried about it as I’d discussed with the jury coordinator beforehand about my particular issues – I could get kiddos to and from school for a week without me, and manage my properties by calling in favors but much more was pushing it.

They said one week was it. OK, let’s go decide someone’s life.

TL;DR – author suffers personal tech embarrassment uniquely shameful.

Of course you can’t have your phone on in the courtroom. You’re not even allowed to simply silence it. Power off. That’s cool, quite understand that and after 1.5 hours of jury interviewing with me being interviewed they let us 14 potentials take a break.

In the break room everyone powered up, texted some people, I took some photos of the skyline as the view was great, and as we were called back all of us turned our phones back off. I watched my phone shutting down as I put it in my jacket pocket. We’d been warned before, there were warning signs on the wall, and we were told as we were marching back to make sure they were off.

The group walked back out in order to our seats, stood and were recognized, and asked to sit down. I did so. My jacket pocket bumped into the arm. This I’m guessing was the trigger.

Two minutes later I’m being asked questions about my biases and whether I thought I could convict someone of a crime that would send them to prison for the rest of their life and I feel a vibration. [bzzt bzzt]

Oh crap. Judge looking at me, defense attorneys interviewing me, I feel my phone has just powered up and is cycling through notifications such as mail received, etc.

Luckily it’s on silent, in a coat, now shifted slightly to be behind me because I think for some reason that more thickness between it and the world might shield it from notice.

As I move it further away, trying with all my might to not be conspicuous, I hear a beep. The beep that happens when you adjust the volume on my phone.

I look at the wall clock and realize we’re extremely close to the time of day one of my games notifies me to play it. I’d chosen a sound uniquely this game, but for reasons unknown it’s at about an 11 and it needs to be at about a six with all the other notification sounds.

Sitting there being looked at by the judge, prosecution, defense, and accused murderer, my boss calls me.

Ring was still on silent. *phew* that’s one thing. But notifications are another.

About two minutes later the take a quick in-courtroom break so the judge can talk to the attorneys and the court manager comes over to see if anyone needs anything, I explain my phone powered up and I’m trying to not be that guy, and he assures me there’s that guy every time and just to turn it off, all good.

A little later I’m dismissed. I just wasn’t what they were looking for for a murder trial. All good, not sure I wanted to be judging intent in a conflict that ended in death. Me and 3 other people were dismissed into a room, where we all powered up our devices.

I check, mine’s on silent on everything still. That beep was from the person behind me.

We’re escorted down to the main Jury coordinator lobby. We were informed that if we were not selected for the pool Monday we’d be entered in the computer for potential service Tuesday.

The computer on the left has us listed for being in a different courtroom (we weren’t, we had badges, were scanned in/out, escorted to every room, called by name, no chance of mixup on our ends) – so they go to another computer, which locked up, and as such we four were set free.

I was reminded of going to a friend’s traffic court

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts