I am here at jury duty. It really sucks. We have sat here so far for 2 1/2 hours and have done nothing. I was worried about getting here on time. I had to drop off Caitlin earlier than usual to make it here by the time they said on the phone: 8:30 A.M. I pulled into the parking deck late. I actually checked in at about 8:45. I learned that one does not really have to get here until 9:15 or so. Then, a woman got up and explained the whole day schedule after showing us a video that explained and role played the jury process. It was very rah-rah The Process.
11:18 - "Two of our civil trials have been resolved. We are waiting for one more for the morning." That was the announcement. If we are all lucky, we will go to lunch soon without having to be picked on any jury.
There are probably 150 people here. The overwhelming impression I get from looking at the group is that it is in no way representative of the general population of this area. There are 8 people who do not fit this description: white, middle-class, 40-60 years old. I wonder how that can be a "jury of your peers".
It is a beautiful day outside. We were allowed a 20 minute "coffee break", so I went for a walk. The Somerset County courthouse complex buildings and campus is very beautiful. It is a mix of architectural styles that reflect the growth of the area. There is the original classical styled pre-twentieth century courthouse. Added to that is the building we are in, an 18th century church that was bought by the county. It has all the original architecture - including religious stained-glass windows and 20 foot high pipes for an organ. Church and state comes together here in an ironic marriage of historical preservation. Connecting these two older buildings is a large modern office building behind them that houses the county offices. Glass walkways lead into these older structures. The campus itself has a plush lawn and a "Time to Remember" monument area. This circular commons-like area has a set of pillars and a clock, with benches surrounding. There were three fat cops sitting there, one with the requisite shaved head, all with the reflective glasses. I am not sure if it was a war memorial, public service memorial for police and fire, or a 9-11 memorial. I didn't stop long enough to read. Observing the stereotypical cops was more interesting than the monument. The town of Somerville is full of old consignment, special-interest, and hobby stores. Lots of little food places. I never saw so many little businesses clustered like that. Low rent or taxes here to support them?