Tuesday, June 01, 2021

On Call

Sometimes I wonder if we accidentally moved to a place where things are simply bureaucratically more...difficult.

For example, I've been summoned for jury duty before, when we lived in Durham, but I was given a specific date and that one single date was my only potential day for jury duty (unless the trial went longer than expected). From Durham county's website we learn:

"Jury service in Durham County operates on the one-day / one-trial system. A new group of jurors are summoned each day of the week and, if selected to serve on a jury, a juror will serve for that day or for the length of a trial. However, if a person is not selected for a trial, their jury service will be complete after that one day. If selected to serve on a trial that is completed before the end of the day, those jurors will return to the jury assembly area and may then be selected for service on another case. If not selected again, those jurors will be allowed to go home at the end of the day, having completed their jury service. Jurors selected for a trial that takes several days will need to be present each day during the trial.

The average length of service on a trial is two days."

When I called to see if I needed to check in, I was told my services weren't needed. So then I was finished.

Want to know how it works in Gwinnett county?

For starters, their website is...a you won't necessarily find this information on it. But basically, I'm on call for jury duty for the entire week. I have to check in every evening after 7:00 PM to see if I'll be needed the next day. For an entire week

Now, I understand that jury duty is important and good. But an entire week!?

We're very fortunate that at the present time we don't have to make many alternative arrangements for childcare and so forth (Andrew is teaching over the summer, but his schedule is very flexible (it's less-so in the fall)). How am I supposed to arrange on-call childcare for an entire week? would I hypothetically find a babysitter who could maybe supervise five children...on any particular day of the week. Like, Rachel is of babysitting age, it's true. But she also has a nannying gig this summer do I know when to tell her she has to babysit her siblings (and therefore yank her away from her paying job) versus when she has the green light to babysit for this other family? 

I mean, that's only a hypothetical because Andrew actually discovered that his summer course doesn't begin until next week, so he's definitely home and available this week. BUT STILL! I imagine it's a huge headache for some parents.

And how, if I was a working mom, would I figure out which day I need my shifts covered and which days I can actually come to work?! It sounds like a nightmare. 

Already I've needlessly cancelled an eye appointment and tomorrow I technically have a meeting with my writing group (for a paper we're trying to get ready for publication) but...I have no idea if I'll be able to attend. So that's fun.

I feel like being on call for a week is...overkill. 

To be fair, in the district of Northern California, jurors are on call for two weeks. Hancock county, Ohio, seems to be on call for one week (though it looks like you only check in once). It's also a week in Utah. 15 business days (so three weeks) in Massachusetts. In some courts you're on call for two months (?!). 

So perhaps we were simply spoiled in Durham...


  1. My friend Lauria was on the jury for a rather prominent murder trial in Colorado a few years ago, and that ate up a looooooong time. Good thing her kids were almost grown!

  2. Yes, it seems to vary quite a bit. I remember chatting with some people a long time ago and finding out it's not the same as I've experienced in NC. Mine was the same as yours was in Durham. If I called the night before and they said "your services are not needed" tomorrow, then I said, "yippee!" and moved on.

    1. I, honestly, can say that I prefer North Carolina's methods! Haha!