Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Juror Room sketches

I spent the last two days at the King County Courthouse in Seattle. Each day began in the Juror Room on the main floor. The room had comfortable chairs placed in rows theater style. By 8 a.m. the chairs were filled with people waiting to be assigned to a court room. I had a small sketchbook with me and began sketching what was in front of me, the backs of chairs and the people they held.

I also added some of the folks I had seen on the bus into town.

The day was filled with waiting. Every now and then a person would read the name of a judge, followed by a list of 35 to 50 names. Each name was given a number. Eventually the judge's name would be read again and 35-50 people would leave the Juror Room and head to an assigned courtroom upstairs. Since only 14 people would remain with a case, those excused would return to the Juror Room and wait to be assigned to another case. If at the end of the second day you were not chosen as a juror, you had met your obligation and were excused from duty.

The last 10 minutes of the day I was one of fifty people called to a court room on the seventh floor. The judge introduced herself and the lawyers for both sides, explained the rules, we were sworn in and the day was over.

Tuesday morning I left for the bus in the snow, returned to the Juror Room. Around 9:30 my group was called back to my assigned court room and the lawyers began their rounds of questions to the jurors.

Selected people were gradually excused from the court room and sent back to the juror pool on the main floor. I was excused from the case just before lunch.

A walk in the sun and cappuccino, at one of Caffè Umbria's outside tables on Occidental, finished lunch break. At 2:40 those remaining in the jury pool were told we had fulfilled our jury duty and we were excused.

Today I am home painting.

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