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What to Do on Jury Duty.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | May 13, 2010

I have heard a lot of complaining over the years about how much waiting time jurors and prospective jurors must endure.  The following is a suggestion.

In addition to being an opportunity to meditate, Jury duty is an excellent opportunity for reading a book.  During the course of the first day on jury duty, you will be given the gift of several hours of time when you are not required to do anything but sit and wait. Chances are, if you hadn’t been summoned, your day would be full of things to do.  But now you have a break from all that.

However, in order to take advantage of this gift, you must be prepared. You must have selected a book in advance (not a magazine, since you will be finished too quickly) that you are looking forward to reading.  And you must also prepare your mind.

Banish those thoughts about what an imposition this is.  Don’t listen to, or worse, join into complaining conversations you will hear around you.  Be determined that you are going to seize the chance to read something really good, a chance you don’t give yourself often enough.

Yes, there is a TV in the lounge area, but don’t watch it.  Daytime TV is toxic and the biggest time-killer there is.  Don’t let anything deprive you of the chance to get into that book, and once you get going, to finish it.  If you fritter away this chance, you’ll probably never read that book. So get started!

Unfortunately, sometimes we can’t concentrate, despite best efforts.  So, come prepared for that contingency also.  Bring along a small notebook and several pens.  Make a list of all of the things you intend to do once your tour of jury duty is over.  You may be surprised how calming this activity can be.  Once listed, items vanish from your consciousness.  You don’t have to constantly remember things that are on a list, so you don’t.  Now, suitably relaxed, try getting back with that book.

If you are picked for a jury, you will again have time while sitting in the hall or other waiting areas to read.  But make sure that your book is tucked away, out of sight, while in the jury box or during any other time when you are supposed to be paying attention to matters relating to the case.  If you don’t, the tipstaff may confiscate your book, just at the point where you can hardly put it down.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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