Andrew Sullivan poses the titular question and then offers up these quotes:
Matt Yglesias doesn't understand:
Is everyone else's job really so amazing that they can't bear the thought of a few days off to listen to testimony and pronounce on a verdict? I don't buy it. I feel like as a society we've coordinated on a pointless anti-social norm that you're some kind of sucker if you're willing to just smile and do what the judge wants even though there are no really good self-interested reasons to want out. For salaried professionals, jury duty is a paid vacation.
Josh Barro enlightens Matt:
If you’re just one interchangeable cog in a corporate or government machine, maybe you can sit on a jury and let your workload fall to your co-workers. But for a lot of salaried professionals, jury duty means being at the courthouse from 8 to 4 and then going into the office to attend to a slew of matters that only you are equipped to handle.
Here's my take on why I hate jury duty, with special relevance to my stints with the Los Angeles Superior Court:
- Everything is hurry up and wait. Get to the jury room at the crack of dawn and tghen wait hours to be called to a court room. Wait interminably outside the courtroom. Get into courtroom. Sit in uncomfortable chairs, while the interminable voir dire process drags on. You're not allowed to read, watch a movie on your iPad, text, tweet, or otherwise entertain yourself. Instead, you just have to sit their and listen to one lie after another as people try to get off. Internally debate whether your lie will pass muster.
- Speaking of hurry up and wait, I've often gotten called to a courtroom for voir dire, where the bailiff treats us like we're idiots. Wait for hours in the hallway outside with no place to sit, only to be told that the case has settled and we should go back to the jury room. BORING.
- Get dismissed because you're a law professor. Called many times, voir dired (is that a word?) often. never served. Wasted hours all.
- Here in LA, the jury rooms suck. They're uncomfortable. Dirty, non-ergonomic seats. Filty rugs. WiFi doesn't work. No cell phone signal. Crowded. Smelly. And don't even get me started on the toilets in the jury room. They're just plain scary.
- The water in the water fountains tastes awful, so you end up having to buy water from a crowded snack bar that charges monopolistic prices.
- Lousy food and coffee options.
- The jury room staff treat the jury pool like we're all idiots.
- Some seriously scary people wandering the halls.
- Having to fill out extensive juror questionaires, which ask for all sorts of personal information, which will be turned over to the lawyers for some of those very scary people.
- Insultingly low compensation.
- Security hassles invented by somebody too dumb to get hired by the TSA.
- Parking is a zillion miles away from the door you're required to use.
- You feel like a prisoner.
- Having to drive downtown, which in LA is never fun.
- The risk of getting stuck on a multi-week trial that will drag on interminably.
- The risk of getting stuck on a murder capital case involving scary gang members.
- The people who run things are even worse at keeping you informed of what's going on than the people who run airlines.
- The court system makes it very clear that the comfort, convenience, and treatment are the system's lowest priority.
- The people who run the court system have no respect for our time, comfort, or even just our basic right to human dignity.
In sum, few experiences suck more than being called for jury service in the Los Angeles courts.