My Day In Court as a Juror in Clackamas County
I woke yesterday morning feeling a mixture of excited nervousness. This was not only my first time going through the jury duty process...but also the first time I'd ever be in a courtroom. Oh..I've seen my share of court shows, but I also know they are TV...so was really interested in the real thing.
If you're called to serve jury duty in Clackamas county, you'll recieve notice in the mail. After calling the night before to see if my number was called, I was on my way to Oregon City where the Courthouse is. It was fun (not)trying to find parking, so I'd highly recommend that you just go to the lot on the corner of 12th & Main in Oregon City, and pay the $5 for five hours. Once they get things going, you have little time to do much...especially move your car.
There were 30 of us that were called to serve in the Jury Assembly Room...two buildings away from the actual Courthouse. After putting a "Juror" pin on, filling out forms, watching a video of the process, the clerk of the court (think that's her title) came in and had us line up in numerical order. I was instantly brought back to those days in kindergarten when my teacher had us all line up and put a finger over our mouths. Thankfully, the clerk didn't have us do that.
We were then led single file from the Ralph M. Holman Building to the courthouse where we then had to go through airport like security..down to having to take a sip of the open water bottle. I honestly thought I would have plenty of time waiting where I could use my computer, but this wasn't the case..so I needed to leave my computer bag and camera in the Jury Assembly Room. My advice, go in light with just your phone and minimal stuff.
Taken into a small courtroom, the judge and attorneys all gave us the skinny, we were sworn in and then we went around the room each giving our name, county and city where we live, our occupation, our significant others occupation and hobbies. After doing this the attorneys asked questions of several people and then we were taken to another room to wait while they chose the jurors.
Being a criminal case, I was chosen to be one of 12 jurors instead of 6 jurors if it's a civil trial. I had to smile at how times have changed and the judge had to add about 10 minutes of instructions about not using ANY form of social media, checking google, blogging, tweeting and in general not mentioning ANYTHING about the case to anyone.
I sat and listened to the testimony of three witnessess and the attorneys pleading their case. What I honestly didn't expect was for that feeling of how my decision would change the life of the defendant. It hits you that you really have to ignore all the hoopla of the attorneys and just take in the facts and evidence.
After listening to the closing statements, we were then sent back into a room (well...during the process we were sent back into the room several times because of something unkown to us)..and asked to come back with our decision. We needed 10 of the 12 jurors to agree. In our case, the defense had nothing and the state produced valid evidence and witnesses. There were no heavy scenes like the in 12 Angry Men, we all simply looked over the evidence, gave our take on it and then we went around the table and voted. It felt harsh to say the words guilty, and the word didn't come out easily. It's actually harder to go back into the courtroom and watch the defendant as they hear that word as well.
I know it's easy to just want to put this process off because there is always something you have to do. I've done that as well. I'm glad however that I finally went. I felt the importance of it and was honored to be part of the judicial system that gives us the right to be judged by our peers.
Oh..and an interesting aside that the judge told us. When we are asked to rise everytime she came in, we are not asked to rise because of the judge. We are all rising because of the flag. I didn't know this!
Search All Listings In the Portland Metro Area Here
Cindy Westfall ABR,GRI
Premiere Property Group
5000 Meadows Rd., Ste. 150, Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Disclaimer: All views on my blog are my own and may not reflect that of Premiere Property Group. All pictures and content are my own unless otherwise noted. Please No Copying without my permission.
Cynthia Westfall is licensed in Oregon State