Why Does Everyone Hate Jury Duty So Much?

Why_Does_Everyone_Hate_Jury_Duty_So_MuchI’ve lived in San Diego for almost 10 years now and not once had I ever been called in to jury duty.  During college, my official records stated that I lived in Los Angeles(at my parent’s house) so every time I got called in to LA County jury duty I was excused since I lived in San Diego.

Now that I’ve officially taken permanent residence in San Diego, I actually researched ways in which I could get called in for jury duty service.  Maybe it was my naivety, since I had never done jury duty service before, but I genuinely wanted to get called in.

About a year ago, I called into the Superior Court’s office and asked, “How do I get selected for jury duty?”  The woman on the other end was a little taken aback, apparently not many people want to serve on a jury, but she told me that they pull from DMV and voting records so make sure I was registered there.  I had recently changed my DMV address to San Diego county so I was all set on that front and after filling out a quick online form, my voting address was changed to San Diego County.

I guess the government can be expedient when they need something from you since it didn’t take long after that.  I was called in to jury service less than a year later and I couldn’t have been happier.

Flex Scheduling

I’m not sure that every region is the same, but San Diego Superior Court offered me the ability to report up to two weeks before or after my date.  Now that’s some flexibility for you!  I didn’t end up using this feature but I could see how it would be very handy if something came up at the last minute or you had a light day of work planned.

I did end up postponing my date a couple months though to a more convenient time(twice actually) and the process was very simple.  I went online and they gave me the next available date, I said OK and received a new badge in the mail a week later.  So far so good!

The Day Had Finally Arrived

One problem with serving on jury duty downtown is parking.  I’ve never even tried to park downtown during a weekday since the prices are astronomical.  The parking lot behind the courthouse was $25 a day for parking.  There is plenty of metered parking around the area, but the meters are only good for a couple hours.

I decided to use my Car2go membership to get downtown and I quickly found a metered space(Car sharing services can park in meters for free!).  Total trip cost was $8 one way, a lot cheaper than parking in the lot and a lot quicker than taking public transportation, or so I thought.

7:45 am

I arrived to jury duty a few minutes late just after 8 am and didn’t get into any trouble(score!).  They showed a quick video about jury service and then started calling off names.  It took me a while to figure out whether I wanted my name called or not, but eventually I decided it would be best if the speaker never uttered my name.

8:30 am

After the initial round of name-calling, I went into a quiet room in the back and started working on my blog.  I wrote one article and brokered two advertising deals for $300!  Just as I was finishing up, a voice came on over the loudspeaker telling us it was time for a break.  Sweet, union mandated break!

10 am -10:20 am – Break

After an hour or so of working on my blog I decided to switch gears to my second, third, fourth job.  Did you guys know that I’m a freelance writer for various financial sites?  Anyways, I started writing a few months ago and since I have limited time, I am very picky as to which jobs I accept(translation: I only take high paying gigs).

Anyways, I worked on a long article about foreclosure mobile homes and turned the article in for a cool $100.  My name still hadn’t been called.  By this point it was looking like we might get to go home early.  Just then, a mysterious voice came on and let us know that it was time for a 1 hour and 45 minute lunch break!

11:30 am – 1:15 pm – Lunch Break

My work has pretty flexible hours but I don’t think I’ve ever taken a 1 hour 45 minute lunch break!  So far, I’d say jury duty was way better than my day job and I hadn’t even hit my ideal 4 hour work day.

An hour and forty-five minutes is a long time and I knew I’d only need about 20-30 minutes for lunch so now I had to find a way to kill an hour.  I picked the downtown court location in part since there are tons of restaurants, shops and the bay is right there if you want to take a nice walk.

San_Diego_Bay_Downtown_Skyline

San Diego Bay Downtown Skyline

My options were pretty abundant but when I walked out I saw a Chase bank and remembered that I had seen an offer the week before for a free $200 for opening a new checking account.  You all know how I love free money so I decided to stop in and hit them up for a free $200.  I was immediately greeted by a nice guy named John who helped me set up my new checking account.

All I had to do was deposit $100 and keep a minimum balance to avoid fees.  Sure enough, three days later, a $200 bonus arrived in my account.  The whole process took about an hour but it still left me with enough time to grab a panini and make it back by 1:15 on the dot.

1:30 pm

We’re all back from lunch now, but things are still getting settled and I probably could have made it a 2 hour lunch without anyone noticing.  The room has thinned out quite a bit, but there is still a significant amount of people waiting for their name to be called.

My post lunch food coma is hitting at the perfect time since my computer is nearly out of batteries and I’m tired of working so hard.  I browse the internet for a while, catch up on ESPN, Slickdeals, Facebook, etc and before I know it an hour has gone by.

People are starting to get antsy, a woman next to me tells me how she can’t wait to get back to work.  Huh?  We’re supposed to go back to work?  Isn’t the point of getting let go early from jury duty so you can go home?

2:30 pm

A final flurry of names are read off and we are told to wait in case they needed more jurors.  Sounds suspicious, but 20 minutes later, a magical voice comes on over the loudspeaker and tells us that we are free to go home.  They thanked us for completing jury service and they will see us again next year!

WAHOO!  Ok I didn’t actually scream, but I did smirk and walk out.  I received a free day pass from MTS San Diego so I decided to take the trolly home.  30 minutes later I was walking into my condo and my day was done!

In Summary..

My employer paid me for the entire day and most of the people I talked to said the same.  I don’t think my outlook on jury duty would be so sunny though if I had to do it on an off day or if I wasn’t paid for it.  But either way, it’s pretty easy to get out of jury duty if you really want to.  Personally though, I’m not too busy to take a one day vacation and I definitely made the most of my time.  Got paid by my employer, worked on my blog, wrote a couple articles for my freelancing gig and stopped by Chase to get a free $200 checking bonus.  Not bad for a paid vacation if you ask me.

Readers, was my jury duty experience pretty uncommon or do you think it’s typical?  Do you have any similar stories or maybe horror stories from jury duty?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

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Comments

  1. says

    One of my friends is from another country and he got called to jury duty in that country, so he had to decline since he lives in the US. Since he’s not a US citizen, he’ll never get called for jury duty here either. I’ve never been called. I know my employer would pay me for up to 10 days at full pay if I was though.

    I loved that $200 I got for opening my Chase checking account! I only need to keep it open for 3.5 more months before I can recoup my $1,500. I opened the account online in about 5 minutes, so that was a pretty good ROI!
    Leigh recently posted…May 2013 net worth update (+6.4%)My Profile

    • says

      Wow 10 days, that would be awesome. If I had to do jury duty for a career it might suck but for a week or two, doing something different like that would be pretty cool I think. And getting paid for it too, no brainer in my book.

      Maybe I used a different coupon code than you? I only deposited $100 and got the bonus within 2-3 days, no direct deposit or anything. I think I did see I need to keep $1,500 in there to avoid monthly fees but I don’t see why I couldn’t close the account today if I wanted to.

      • says

        Well, the $1,500 is to avoid the monthly fee. I figured it was easier to just deposit the whole amount immediately rather than just $100. My coupon code required me to keep the account open for 6 months – I would double check the fine print on yours.
        Leigh recently posted…May 2013 net worth update (+6.4%)My Profile

  2. says

    I’ve only been called once and it was a few years ago. While they had wireless available, I think it was very low bandwidth, and with the number of people in the room all fighting for connection, it was pretty much useless. I would hope that by now they’ve added capacity which would make it a much more tolerable experience. For the most part, I’m with you.
    Money Beagle recently posted…Did You Ever Have A George Bailey Moment?My Profile

    • says

      I could see how that would be a bummer, but I had my phone which I could have tethered to if that would have been the case. The key is to go in prepared and bring stuff to do for 8 hours. I can’t tell you how many people were just sitting there on their phones staring at a tiny screen the whole day haha.

  3. says

    I think your experience was definitely an anomaly considering how productive you were – usually when a friend is on jury duty, I see FB updates from them in 10 minute increments haha. I think for one of the courts (I think federal), they allow you to park in Horton Plaza structure for the day if you have the letter. The other one (a few blocks away) usually just gives me a trolley pass.
    anna recently posted…Link Love, Ladies’ Night EditionMy Profile

    • says

      Haha I guess I was more prepared than the average person. I probably would have even brought a lunch if I knew there would be access to a microwave/fridge. Yea I heard that about the federal but unfortunately this was regular jury duty. I did use the trolley pass to get home though, sweet deal!

    • says

      Yea I think it would be interesting too. A lot of people bitch and complain about it but I think I’d much rather do jury duty once a year than live in a country where I didn’t have to do it because there was no jury haha.

  4. K says

    I think it must depend on your normal job! For me jury duty just means I have to come in after the normal day and do my real work all night long in order to catch up. Definitely not a fun experience!

    • says

      Yea that does sound pretty bad, in that case I would do everything in my power to get out of jury duty. I’d probably buy a refundable airline ticket or something like that and make up some story so I could get out of it. :)

  5. says

    One problem for me with jury duty was that I was a stay at home mom and the one time I was called the court had no services to get children from school to the court’s daycare. So, if my children were very small, they would be taken care of.

    Fortunately, the judge actually asked if there were mothers of school age children who did not have another source of care. We were dismissed along with the one person who cared for a disabled spouse. While I’d covered that first day, the jury I was called for was slated to last for up to two weeks. It would have been impossible for me to cover that period of time.

    If you get called for a one day trial, no biggy. The problem is with that slim chance your name is called for a long trial.
    Betsy / CollegeMom recently posted…Visa vs MasterCard vs American ExpressMy Profile

    • says

      Oh that was pretty nice of the judge. Yea I think at this point in my life jury duty is a good thing, but I don’t think I’ll say the same thing in 5-10 years when I have kids and a ton of other stuff going on.

  6. Nick Abraham says

    You’re pretty short sited aren’t you? Not everyone makes money from their computer. Do you really not realize this, or do you just fancy being a braggart?

    • says

      Maybe you misinterpreted the overarching theme of the article, I should have made it clearer. If you’re going to be forced into doing jury duty for a day, why not make the most of it? Don’t come unprepared and sit there on your phone looking at facebook for the whole day, that’s probably why people think jury duty sucks.

      You get to sit in a quiet room for 4-6 hours, there are a million things you could do to improve upon your human capital. Read a book, study a foreign language, etc. and there are plenty of ways to make money online if you so choose.

      http://yourpfpro.com/get-rich-investing-in-human-capital/

    • says

      Yea I’d be pretty pissed if I was self-employed and had to do jury duty. But since my employer paid for it, it was pretty awesome and I definitely took advantage of my time there.

  7. says

    Harry!

    Hey man–I know I haven’t commented in a while. But I was just searching for “what happens if I don’t show up for jury duty san diego” and your G+ photo popped up on the 2nd or 3rd page of search results!

    Anyhow, I really want to do jury duty badly. I’ve shown up in Texas but was not selected.

    Now I live in San Diego as well, but I work remotely for my employer, hourly, and jury duty is not covered.

    I sent my summons excuse response with a couple letters attached. Haven’t heard of me being excused.

    So the question is–do I skip jury duty? Risk getting fined or going to jail hahaha?

    OR–you mention you were on the internet there…I would be surprised if the courthouse provided free wifi. Or is that the case??

    Thanks!
    Todd
    Todd @ Fearless Men recently posted…There Are No Crystal-Ball Certainties When It Comes To Paying TaxesMy Profile

    • says

      Hey Todd, no worries brotha, good to hear from you. I probably wouldn’t skip out on jury duty haha but yea they had free wi-fi in the waiting room at least. They even had a pretty cool quiet room where everyone was in there working – it was small but cozy. They ended up letting about half the people go early but the other half got called to court rooms. I’m sure only a small percentage ended up serving so let me know how it goes.

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