31. August 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I am on jury duty this coming week. I’ve written about this before, but it’s been a while since I’ve been called so I think I’ll whine just a bit. Or more.

Jury duty, for a performer, is a challenge. Yes, it’s a challenge for anyone, really, but for us it’s a “special” sort of difficult I think. (But, thinking more, I wonder how the heck a surgeon deals with it! “Sorry, surgery is canceled, I have to get to the courthouse!”?)

Your availability for the jury selection process will be expected through Friday of the week you were summoned. If necessary, all prospective jurors are expected to be available on a one-hour notice to report for jury service. If you report and are assigned to a courtroom, your services are required until you are excused from the jury selection process. If you are selected as a sworn juror or as an alternate juror, you must serve for the duration of the trial.
You are expected to return to work any day that you are not required to report to the courthouse. You will receive a certificate of appearance for the days you are instructed to report. This does not include days you were on telephone alert.

We don’t get paid if we don’t go in to work. This is an issue for most of us in the arts.

I checked for Tuesday already (Monday is a holiday so I don’t have to worry about that) and I was instructed to check in again at noon on Tuesday. I’m going to guess it’ll then tell me to check at 5:00. Here’s hoping, anyway, since I have two students that afternoon. (Canceling students means no pay, obviously. It also means missed lessons and I prefer that I work with students weekly as much as possible.) I’ll just bet I’ll be instructed to check in again at 11 AM on Wednesday, although of course this is all just guesswork on my part. Then there’s that “one-hour notice”. I have a rehearsal on Wednesday from 11:30 to 2:30. If I do get told to check in at 11:00 on Wednesday and I do get called I have an issue. “Sorry, guys, but you’ll have no principal oboe now!” isn’t a great thing to do at the last minute to the opera company. I have a sub on standby and if I DO get called Tuesday night he’ll come in, but an hour’s notice!?. Not a good thing. In addition I really don’t want to miss the rehearsal because I need every rehearsal I can get!

Some year I would love to be on a jury. I think I could be fair. I think I have a fairly good head on my shoulders (for an oboist). But now? Definitely not a good time for this. It’s too bad they wouldn’t let me suggest a summer month when I’m unemployed.

I’ve made it all the way to the jury box twice. I was asked some questions. I was told to go home. I was rejected. The funny thing was my bewilderment and my feelings of inadequacy. I wanted to be let go, but rejection?! I wanted to say, “I’d be really really good but thanks for understanding I have a life.” Instead I just left quickly and felt as if no one liked me, everybody hated me, and I went looking for worms to eat. ;-)

2 Comments

  1. I have had that same issue twice as I seem to always get called when I have a show. Unfortunately, the contractor that I work with has ‘No sub” policy” so if you think are going to miss any rehearsal or performance you have to turn down the entire run of that show which is quite a substantial amount of money on the whim that you might not have to serve.

    I did receive a grand jury summons for Federal Court two summers ago and it landed right on when the arrival of my grandson (c-section) was supposed to happen. I called and they were really good about rescheduling me, which I never ended having to serve. You are right, as I was sitting in the jury box (Juror #3) three summers ago all I could think of was how much money I was going to have to turn down if I was picked and couldn’t play Cinderella. I know I’m supposed to keep an open and fair mind but at that point I just wanted OUT! Third DUI and the son of a sheriff…HE”S GUILTY! Luckily I donate to MADD so I was excused…so happy to hear Juror Number three, thank you, you are excused! YES!!! “It’s Possible” -Cinderella

  2. Yep, it’s the same here, Lisa, when it comes to certain contractors. And if I miss more than one rehearsal for symphony I can’t to that week of work, but since most of that’s at night I’m fairly safe. It’s the shows that are the huge issue … well, that and students!