If your work won't pay you for the days you have jury duty, in San Francisco, you can get $17.50. Except if you are a federal employee. Then you get nothing. Thank goodness GQ said he'd pay me. I was in jury duty for a day and a half, and thank goodness they didn't put me in the jury box for voir dire, because one attorney was not wearing a suit, and the other attorney's client was wearing jeans and slouching in his seat. Having to explain that I'd wind up hanging the case because I just couldn't respect either side probably would not have been taken well by the court.
You can be excused from jury duty (once you're there) if you have a hardship. We wasted hours and hours with the judge listening to people come up with excuses of why they couldn't sit through a trial. One guy was on the standby list for a trip to Tokyo two weeks from now. One guy takes medication for high blood pressure each morning. And vitamins! One woman told the judge she had asthma and sometimes she coughs which is embarrassing. People, these are not legitimate hardships.
A hardship is that you have young children, or are nursing an infant. Or that serving on a jury will mean that you personally (as opposed to the company you work for) will not earn any money. One guy owned his own computer company - he's the guy you call when your server crashes - and had no employees. The judge got annoyed with all the vitamin-takers and started giving people a hard time. "Do you anticipate their servers crashing?" "How are the servers doing right now?" One guy was the sole wage-earner in his household, which consisted of himself, his wife, his elderly parents, his handicapped sister, and his 16-month old twins. The guy just started a new job and was on probation, and apparently you don't get paid during jury duty if you're on probation. The judge made a big point of saying he was highly displeased but since the attorneys agreed, he'd let the guy leave.
The second day I had jury duty was the day of the Batkid extravaganza. Here are two things about that I had not previously realized:
- Just how many people would leave school or work or whatever they do during the day to come watch. The kid was given the key to the city in front of City Hall, and not only was there a huge crowd, but there were police there for crowd control.
- Just how many people own Batman-inspired articles of clothing. Many girls decided it was Halloween all over again, and I got to see what Slutty Batman would look like.