Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ventura County, California Jury Duty tips from a recent potential juror…

Since I only get the privilege of being a potential juror every couple years, I always forget the ins and outs of it. So this time I’m going to capture some notes, notes that hopefully will help me the next time…

These are random notes and will not, now or ever, contain trial or trial juror information. They are focused on the “before,” the time period in the Juror Assembly room before or between trials, ie. “potential juror” information, tips, thoughts, etc.


  • The Jury Assembly Room doors will not be open until they are ready for people. If you get there early and the doors are closed, the Room is not open. On the day I attended, the doors were opened about 15 minutes before 8am.
  • If you want power and a laptop friendly table/chair, get there early. Stand next to the doors and be the first in line when they open. There’s only 8 spots! As you walk in, drop off your stuff on a table and THEN turn in your card
  • Bring ear hones. Even if you don’t plug them in, they’ll help deaden the chatter
  • There IS wireless (jurynet). They give you WEP (yes, WEP, sigh) passkey after the Juror orientation. There’s also free wireless in the cafeteria.
  • Note that the wireless is outbound firewalled. Web and like ports are open, but maybe not others. For example, my Cisco VPN wasn’t happy there at all.
  • The vending machines take cash and credit cards and there’s a coffee one.
  • Orientation does not start at 8am (the time you’re told to report). That’s when the room officially opens and check-in begins
  • Bring a pen. The first thing you’ll be asked to do is fill in a simple personal information form (Name, phone numbers, etc). If you don’t have a pen, you’ll have hunt for one (they have some in a basket where you get the form, but those run out quickly)…
  • They have a map for eating places in walking distance and for walking paths (which is a nice touch)
  • It can be a VERY long day. Bring a book, notebook, Zune, book, knitting, etc


The people are an interesting mix. Much like at the airport or on a plane, it’s a very random mix of characters. The main difference is that everyone is “local” (to the county at least). <vent> I do wish they would listen to the orientation, especially reference cell phone calls. Listen people, the group of people around you don’t want to hear your darn call! Just as I’m sure you wouldn’t want to listen to mine… Hint, your phone is “portable,” you can go somewhere else, somewhere more private to make your call… sigh… </vent>

As the day wraps up, I want to restate my opening statement, Jury Duty is a privilege, right and obligation. It’s part of being a citizen of the United States. Remember, freedom isn’t free. You enjoy the benefits of being a citizen, you need to step up and do your part. I’ve served my country in uniform and and now serving it by being here. Yeah, it kind of bytes, but suck it up and man-up (or woman-up, whatever the case).


BTW, No jury/trial/etc for me today. Maybe next year. ;)


John Souchak said...

Hey Greg, if you don't mind sitting in the regular chairs but DO want power for your laptop, can you make do with the regular seating? Do they have outlets throughout the room? Any tips on where those might be located?

Greg said...

It's been a year since I last had duty, but the last time I did the only place with power was along the walls (for which the chairs fill up quickly)

Michael said...

Thanks for the information, I will be on standby in a few weeks and if I get called in I'll definitely take your advice.

This is an old post so things may have changed, but you mentioned knitting in your examples to pass the time; I would avoid bringing knitting needles, scissors, nail files or pretty much anything that security could consider being used as a weapon.