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New Castle County Jury Duty 2008: Time Served
1/17/2008 8:49:00 AM

My recent experience with jury duty in New Castle County has come to a close.  Although I didn't get a chance to do very much, I learned a lot about the process.  For those of you living in New Castle County, Delaware, here is an overview of the jury duty process:

  • You receive a sternly-worded notice in the mail.  This notice contains a demand that you report and a questionnaire about your background.
  • Next, you are expected to reply with the questionnaire.  Optionally, you are able to cite reasons why you are unable to attend.
  • If you elected to cite reasons for being unable to attend, you should expect a strongly-worded "REQUEST DENIED" postcard to arrive in about 7 days.  The county makes it very clear that they place no value on your time whatsoever; and that "they" get to call the shots.
  • On the day of your service, you report to the courthouse.  Generally, you are to report at 8:30 AM.  I'd recommend arriving at the parking garage around 8:00 AM.  Expect traffic, as it's in the center of the city.
  • Expect to go through the intrusive "security" screening.  Remember to leave you cell phone in the car.  Additionally, the court prohibits PDA's, iPods, and nearly anything electronic that isn't a laptop.
  • Next, you will check in at "Suite 1800", the jury duty "holding tank".  It's a big room which seats at least 300 people.
  • Shortly after check-in, you'll be shown a movie about how lucky you were to be chosen.
  • Now you wait.  I hope you remembered to bring a book (or perhaps a laptop).  No internet access is available for laptops, but there are a few heavily-restricted web terminals in the side room.  There are five of them.  You may have trouble securing one.  Note:  This room also contains more comfortable chairs than anywhere else in the courthouse.
  • It's possible that you may be called to audition for a jury, but the odds aren't very good.  In our group of about 200, only about 40 were called to even audition.  Most of us just sat around until the trials concluded.

I apologize if I sound critical of the experience.  Truthfully, I have no objections to serving on a jury.  However, I do have objections to how the process is administered.  It seems very silly to me that of 32 scheduled jury cases on 01/16/2008, only a single case required a jury.  This could easily have been settled without requiring 200 people to lose a day of work.  Additionally, the court really needs to learn some manners.  I would have been in a much more favorable mood, had I not been treated like a criminal at every step.

Regardless, I'm off the hook for at least two years.  Behold my glorious certificate: