I have been summoned for jury duty next week. This is my first time being called and I was just wondering what to expect? I have heard that there can be a lot of waiting involved is it okay to take a ...
They should give you a little orientation as the outset on what to expect.
Yes, you can take a book but NOT read it when in the jury box.
Yes, a lot of waiting. The courts and lawyers have to "pick a jury" and they have lots to chose from and as they work with a group, others wait and if they don't get a jury from that group, they call more ... so its waiting until they need you.
The court will explain exactly what he/she wants you to do and will instruct you on the law and what your are to do when you diliberate (and what not to do) ... if you make it onto a case and it goes to the end of a trial and then to the jury. Most judges will not want you to take notes, but it has been done before.
The 2 lawyers (each side) will ask all in your group (including you) a series of questions, including personal info about your job, family history etc to try to size you up and see if they think you will be a fair and good juror or if you have a sympathy to one party or ideas/thoughts that would make you not an unbiased jurior. They may ask the judge to remove you "for cause" or they may spend one of their "preemptory challenges" (each has so many) to have you removed for any reason or no reason at all.
If you are knocked off the jury being formed, you will usually go back to the "pool" of waiting potential jurors, unless its late in day and then you might be discharged to go home.
Your case might start and get settled in middle and then you never get to do anything but watch. Or, it might go to the end and get sent to you/the jury. Then you and the other 5 or 11 jurors will 'adjourn"to the jury chambers (a private room with noboby allowed in but your jury .. 6 or 12). All of you will discuss the case. You will review any physical evidence that was entered. You can send written questions out to the judge if there is confusion, via the bailiff who will be posted at door or near. Eventually, all of you will vote and try to reach a conclusion based on the "Jury INstructions" given to you in writing (normally) to take into the jury room. You'll fill out the Verdict Form and give it to the Bailiff or you will send note to tell judge if you can't reach a verdict based on the Instructions.
It's a good experience to see how the court system and juries work in America. Nothing to fear and enjoy your book (be sure it will fit in your purse).