Gah! Got a summons in the mail for grand jury duty. Grand jurors, unlike trial jurors, meet twice a week for a two-month term. I actually think this might be an interesting experience, as I've never served as a grand juror before. Except for one, itty bitty problem: I've been summoned to do my civic duty during the upcoming legislative session.
The cosmos is pointing and laughing at me.
And now I wish I was at work today so I could pluck Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated off the shelf opposite my desk and figure out if I can get this deferred. Guess I have no choice but to peruse LexisNexis online, which is a pain to navigate through.
Lessee...Code Section 15-12-2: "Any person summoned to serve as a juror in any court of this state shall be excused from such service during his attendance as a legislator in the General Assembly."
@#%$! Close, but no.
Ah, here we go. Code Section 15-12-1(a)(1): "Any person who shows that he or she will be engaged during his or her term of jury duty in work necessary to the public health, safety, or good order or who shows other good cause why he or she should be exempt from jury duty may be excused by the judge of the court to which he or she has been summoned or by some other person who has been duly appointed by order of the chief judge to excuse jurors. Such a person may exercise such authority only after the establishment by court order of guidelines governing excuses."
Editing bills for the General Assembly during session counts as "work necessary to public good order" doesn't it? Urg. Hope so.
I just do not understand this whole grand jury thing. I mean, I understand the need for grand juries. But why this type of ongoing committment that will be disasterous for anyone who works, AND for stay-at-home parents? Two freakin' months! Why not grand jury every day for one week? Why not grand jury once a week for a month? (Although even that is bad!)
Sorry, I'm not trying to be argumentative -- what I mean is, I understand that Grand Jury might need to be twice a week all year long, for lawyers, clerks, etc. But why do they need the SAME jury panel for two months running? Couldn't you theoretically have a different grand jury panel every week, chosen the same way trial juries are chosen?
You got me there. I know the purpose behind them is very different. I imagine that while a trial jury deals with one case only, a grand jury could arguable sit and determine many cases. Trial juries only get convene if the grand jury determines there's enough evidence. I couldn't tell you the ratio, but it stands to reason that there would be more grand jury cases than trial jury ones.
I can think of a couple reasons to keep folk on, but no idea if they're why it's done that way or not.
I predict that:
1) you won't have any trouble getting it moved to a date more convenient to you, and
2) when you do serve, you'll find it fascinating and get lots of cool material for all kinds of story ideas. Enjoy - if that's the right term.