So, I dodged the jury duty bullet. I was excused after the first day, and now I have a glorious 6 years before I will have to return. During my one day of fulfilling my patriotic duties, I created “The Creatives’ Guide to Surviving Jury Duty”. To my future jurors: You’re welcome.
The Creatives Guide to Surviving Jury Duty
Chapter 1 – What to Pack
It is essential that you put together your survival pack the night before service. Then check, and double-check, to make sure you have everything you need. Essentials for each survival pack should include:
-Laptop (and charger!)
-3 Books of very different topics
-Pencils and/or Pens
Now, I’m sure everyone will have different variations on this. For example an iPad could be substituted for a laptop, or a notepad could be traded for a sketch pad, but nothing is to be removed from this list. You will need everything!
Chapter 2 – Leave Your Phone At Home
Or at least turn it off. For the whole day. I made this mistake and regretted it. While I could have been reading one of my books or writing an article, I spent a good half hour texting back and forth with people I didn’t really want to even talk to in the first place. It was an utter waste of time.
Waiting around to be picked as a juror could obviously be boring, and the first place most people will go to in times such as that will be their smart phones. Don’t use the crutch or before you know it, you’ll have spent 3 hours playing Fruit Ninja.
Chapter 3 – Don’t Try and Make Friends
You could meet a valuable contact at jury duty. Or, more likely, you’ll end up in a forty-five minute conversation about beer distributing with some dude who didn’t bring anything to keep him occupied. Learn from me people, don’t talk to anyone. Don’t even make eye contact.
Chapter 4 – Go Out for Lunch
But don’t go across the street. Go somewhere at least five blocks away. It will help you clear your mind, and most importantly it will help you to avoid any other prospective juror (see Chapter 3).
Chapter 5 – Surviving Voir Dire
During the interview process, you are not allowed to read or play on your phone or computer. You must pay attention. However, there is no rule against having a notepad. You’ll be surprised how easy and clearly you’ll be able to write or draw with the droning sound of an attorney’s voice in the background.
Chapter 6 – Being Chosen for a Jury
Well, you’re pretty much screwed here. You can have a notepad, sure. But you need to pay attention now, so no doodling or poetry writing. If you’re lucky, the case might be somewhat interesting, and you’ll be able to draw something from it creatively when you go home. But probably not.