The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

May 24, 2012

I, the jury

By Courtney L. Saylor
Herald Staff Writer

NEWSROOM NOISE — I’m a civics nerd.

Well, I’m a nerd in general, but I’ve always been particularly interested in the workings of government, and for as long as I can remember I’ve been jealous of people who get summoned for jury duty.

It sounded intriguing and important, and this week I got my first taste of the practice that is a cornerstone of the American judicial system.

One of just over 100 people called to potentially sit in judgment at trials this week, I promptly showed up at the Mercer County Courthouse Monday morning and sat and waited. And waited. And waited.

It was afternoon before Judge John C. Reed started the selection process for a trial, which was interesting but I wouldn’t call it exciting.

It turns out I didn’t get picked, but I was pretty sure if I got called, no lawyer was going to want me on a jury. I know too many lawyers and cops and too much about at least some of the cases before the court from my job as a Herald staff writer.

Perhaps the coolest part about two days of sitting around on uncomfortable benches with a bunch of people who’d rather be somewhere else was running into old friends and making a couple new acquaintances.

When I first arrived, I sat next to a woman who looked slightly familiar and as I overheard her chatting in an English accent with some other ladies I became even more sure that I knew her from somewhere.

We realized that we’d student taught at Sharon High School the same semester - she in French, I in English. The second day of school was Sept. 11, 2001, which will always make the experience vivid in our minds.

I saw a couple people from my school days I hadn’t seen in more than a decade and met two charming ladies whose names I never caught that made me laugh during the downtime and a little bit while we were in the courtroom.

The tipstaff had to shush the stir-crazy group a couple times the first day, as folks loosened up and got friendly.

While it wasn’t glamorous, I did feel like I was an important part of the process and am proud to have served.

We’ll see how eager I am the next time my name gets pulled, though.