Early today I headed downtown for jury duty. In Atlanta it seems that you get called to jury duty every 18 months, or at least I do. The good news is that, like today, I sat around for several hours (five to be exact) and was quite productive due to the limited Internet access. As expected, I came prepared with a fully charged iPhone, iPad (v1 as my v2 is on its way), and MacBook Air (v2).
Here are a few tips for jury duty from my limited experience:
- The summons says to be there by 8am but with such a massive number of jurors (Atlanta’s size, crime rate, or both?) things don’t really start until 9:30am as that’s how long it takes everyone to get in due to metal detectors and individual check-ins. I made it in and was seated by 7:55am but I could have gotten there an hour later and would have been fine.
- Power outlets are at a premium so bring a surge protector if you don’t have a great battery (or two).
- There is limited (read slow and spotty) free WiFi with username “guest” and password “guest”.
- Not really a tip but a judge came and talked to the 300+ jurors for 15 minutes and said that the most beneficial part of having the jurors ready and in-person was that when criminals get to their day of reckoning and know they are guilty, they often enter in a plea bargain in order to avoid making things worse in front of a jury. Basically, knowing that a jury is in the building and ready to go expedites many cases.
Thinking back to this morning it really was super productive. In a giant room with hundreds of people, no friends, no windows, and nearly no Internet makes for a conducive working environment, especially when you’re required to be there by law.