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Jury Duty -- can I bring stuff with me?

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I looked on the website for my county, and the downloadable juror handbook they have posted, but can't find the answer to this. 

 

Can I bring a bag of stuff to do while sitting & waiting? A book to read & some snacks (not to eat in the courtroom)? I assume I have to have my phone turned off, but surely I can keep a bag/purse with me to keep my wallet, keys, phone in while I'm there, right?

 

It's my first time, and I'm clueless. 

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Not only is it most likely that they will allow it, it's probably a very sensible thing to do.  My two jury duty experiences were mostly spent sitting in the jury waiting room, reading.

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I brought knitting with me once, but had to leave the needles upstairs when we went down to the courtroom. Cell phones were fine in the waiting room, as were books.

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I've always been able to take things with me.  I generally have a tote with 2 books (just in case I get bored with one), maybe a magazine too, a notebook (a paper one, for writing in), kindle, phone...  yeah, I fear boredom. But also, I fear that if I am not occupied, someone will start chatting with me...  Oh, a water bottle, and a non-messy snack. 

Edited by marbel
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 I reported for Jury duty in TX (County) at least once. I think they had us waiting in a big waiting room. To be there, in case we were called, to see if they wanted to put us on a jury.  I don't see any reason why you couldn't bring a book, knitting, etc. As long as your Electronics are silent, you can probably use them too?  I wasn't called to be on a Jury panel, so it was just sitting there until they dismissed us.  If you get on a Jury, I hope it is an interesting case and a Short Trial.

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Thanks! I'm happy to go report, and can't decide if I hope to be called or not called. I have important stuff to do starting next week, that I can skip if I have to, but really important stuff the week after that I would seriously hate to miss. 

 

On the other hand, I find the whole idea exciting and kind of hope to get picked. I looked up the pay and it's $6 for tomorrow, but $40/day starting on the 2nd day (so, if you actually get picked for a jury). Not bad (I mean, not great, when you break it down hourly....) but for a stay-at-home, non-income-making mom....I'll take it if I have to. Parking is free, it's 10 mins from my house, and I can pack my lunch & water. 

 

We'll see! I'll let you guys know after tomorrow if I get selected to actually be on a jury or not. 

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I looked on the website for my county, and the downloadable juror handbook they have posted, but can't find the answer to this. 

 

Can I bring a bag of stuff to do while sitting & waiting? A book to read & some snacks (not to eat in the courtroom)? I assume I have to have my phone turned off, but surely I can keep a bag/purse with me to keep my wallet, keys, phone in while I'm there, right?

 

It's my first time, and I'm clueless. 

 

In my experience, the only things that are banned from the waiting room are things that are banned from the courthouse altogether.  For example, the last time I went to the courthouse I forgot I had my good sharp scissors, and those were confiscated.  But electronics, books, etc . . . are fine in the juror waiting room.  I guess you should also avoid anything that's really unpleasant to those around you.  Don't plan on tuba practice.

 

If you're selected for a jury then you'll need to put the electronics away, so having something electronic and something non-electronic makes sense.  But most people seem to spend more time in the waiting room than the courtroom. 

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Not only is it most likely that they will allow it, it's probably a very sensible thing to do.  My two jury duty experiences were mostly spent sitting in the jury waiting room, reading.

 

They will likely search your bags - but other than that it should be no problem. People would go out of their minds if they had nothing to occupy their time. It can take hours.

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In my experience, the only things that are banned from the waiting room are things that are banned from the courthouse altogether.  For example, the last time I went to the courthouse I forgot I had my good sharp scissors, and those were confiscated.  But electronics, books, etc . . . are fine in the juror waiting room.  I guess you should also avoid anything that's really unpleasant to those around you.  Don't plan on tuba practice.

 

If you're selected for a jury then you'll need to put the electronics away, so having something electronic and something non-electronic makes sense.  But most people seem to spend more time in the waiting room than the courtroom. 

 

Same here. No knitting or crochet needles, no needlework of any form and definitely no scissors because they could easily be used as weapons. Books, magazines, and phones are fine. You might want a sweater, too. I tend to find the rooms to be cold.

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Same here. No knitting or crochet needles, no needlework of any form and definitely no scissors because they could easily be used as weapons. Books, magazines, and phones are fine. You might want a sweater, too. I tend to find the rooms to be cold.

 

That was the one helpful bit of info actually found on the county website under the suggested dress code. "Fitting the dignity of a courtroom" and "the courthouse is kept at 72* year round." 

 

I'll bring a sweater, because for me, that's chilly; also assuming that "fitting the dignity of a court" means slacks, not jeans. 

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I just had jury duty last week. In my county, we were told explicitly no cell phones allowed in the courtroom at all, and no bags, purses, etc. of any kind until you were seated on a jury. I took my wallet, which has a clip on it for my keys, and a book. Nothing else was allowed in.

 

About halfway through the morning, the bailiff said we could actually have cell phones, they just had to be completely turned off inside the courtroom, but the letter we received had clearly said otherwise, and apparently several people were turned away at the door and had to put their phones in their cars.

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Be sure to empty out any sharp items at home -- I always have a small swiss army knife in my purse that I take out before flights and for the few times I've had to go for jury duty. Our jury rooms no longer allow scissors, crotchet hooks or knitting needles, or embroidery needles.

 

In addition to a water bottle, snack, and books, bring a sweater or sweatshirt. The AC can get chilly when you have to sit so long.

 

Also: be very careful to look over what is allowed clothing-wise. Flip-flops and cut-off shorts are among the clothing items not allowed.

 

It is exciting to serve on your first jury! Good luck! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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My county courthouse will not allow knitting needles (or other types of needles or scissors), but you can take books, laptops, phones, and snacks.  You have to go through a metal detector on the way in (no swiss army knife key chains).  My jury summons specifically stated you could not wear capri pants (jeans with holes, strapless dresses, and mini skirts were allowed).  

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I have.  especially if you're just sitting in the jury waiting/holding room.  We also had wi-fi.  I brought my phone.  other's brought laptops.  

 

when we were seated on a jury - that stuff had to stay in the jury deliberation room off the court-room.  we were the only ones who had access to it. (along with the baliff.)

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I'm jealous of all of you with actual details in the summons itself. Ours doesn't have any of that. Just when and where to show up. 

 

Check the website for the courthouse (if there is one). They might have more info there. :)

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When I had jury duty in January, they made it clear that they wanted us to be comfortable. Most of us brought books or magazines, some brought work. We brought snacks and water bottles, and they offered snacks. We learned that you couldn't eat in the courtroom and they often didn't take breaks while seating a jury, which could take hours. They'd give a 15 minute warning to us as we sat in the waiting room, and we'd all scarf down a granola bar and use the restroom. Dress in layers - sometimes a bunch of you are crammed in a hallway or tiny room to wait and it gets warm, and other times you're in a chilly courtroom. I had heard horror stories, but everybody from the court officers, the judges, and the other jurors tried to keep the process as pleasant as possible.

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I'm jealous of all of you with actual details in the summons itself. Ours doesn't have any of that. Just when and where to show up. 

 

That's like mine. Actually, I am on-call this week. I didn't have to go in today or tomorrow, but they told me to check again after 5:00pm tomorrow. At least it's in criminal court. Last year I had to go in and they told us it was a minimum 2 week trial where an optometrist was suing his accountant. Can anyone think of a more boring thing to sit through than that? I was so glad I didn't make it on that jury.

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Kindle, schoolwork to grade/ plan, sweater, snacks & water bottle are the things I take in my big tote bag.  I know it is going to be searched.

 

 

Funny story:

 

The last time I was asked to serve my middle dd was in high school.  Our charter school at the time required that we prove that I (the teacher) was available every school day, so if I was at work, out of town or on jury duty my high schooler was marked absent ( :glare: )  It was a pain.  I  hoped that I wouldn't be chosen.  We had a really hard-nosed judge & he told us that he was proud of the fact that he "never" excused a juror from doing his/ her civic duty.  He asked if any of us, given what he had just told us, was foolish enough to ask to be excused.  I got in the line and person after person went up & offered her/his excuses and person after person left after being told he/she was not excused.  The lawyers were also allowed to ask questions & dismiss jurors.  No one was being excused for any reason.  I was nervous when it was my turn, but I started to explain that I was solely responsible for my high schooler's education & if I was not present she would be absent.  The judge interrupted me and said,  "Let me get this straight.....You homeschool?"  I answered in the affirmative and both lawyers said, "request to dismiss." and the judge said, "You are dismissed, thank you for your time..."

 

I was almost offended.  The self-proclaimed anarchist with the safety pins through his nose is OK?  The woman who speaks a dialect of Chinese so rare that it would take the city a week to find a translator is OK?  The college kid who started crying because he is going to flunk Chemistry is OK?  But a homeschooler?  No way.  Too weird. 

 

Amber in SJ

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My oldest is serving this week. He was actually happy because he normally leaves the house at 5:45am for college, and he can get up at 8am and be at the courthouse by 8:45.

 

They don't allow cell phones anywhere in the building unless you're employed there. Not even lawyers are allowed to have their phones with them. The summons said "business causual" with no flip-flops, shorts, or tank tops. He's wearing khaki's with a nicer polo today.

 

He's actually enjoying it. I don't know the details of course, but he says it's a "spicy" five-count felony trial.

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Our courthouse doesn't allow any electronics to come through the door. No cell phone, iPad, laptop, music player...nothing.  We can bring books or magazines. We can bring food if we like but it can't be consumed in the courtroom.  They provide coffee and water. 

 

The last time I heard they weren't allowing jurors to bring anything into the courtroom, so they were telling women to leave purses in their car trunks.  We had to leave our stuff in the jury room which I assume the monitor stayed in while we were gone.  In our court they won't let us bring anything in because they are afraid we smuggled a phone (recording device) or a gun.  

 

Hope you have a good experience! It can be very interesting...or quite boring. 

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When I had jury duty, I brought my lunch in a bag, along with a book and magazines to read.  Good thing.  I was in that jury waiting room from 8:30 until 5 o'clock, with absolutely nothing else to do except what stupid TV.   I read a whole Rick Riordan book that day, and I enjoyed my home-packed lunch and didn't have to go out in the rain.  

 

ETA:  I would also suggest you bring ear plugs.  I wish I had.  It was kind of hard to tune out the TV in the background, along with misc. conversations.  I don't know if all jury waiting rooms have TVs, but there is a lot of ambient noise in the waiting room.  We had a woman come into the waiting room and give us updates, so I wouldn't have had to worry about missing announcements with the ear plugs in.

Edited by Serenade
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When I had jury duty, I brought my lunch in a bag, along with a book and magazines to read.  Good thing.  I was in that jury waiting room from 8:30 until 5 o'clock, with absolutely nothing else to do except what stupid TV.   I read a whole Rick Riordan book that day, and I enjoyed my home-packed lunch and didn't have to go out in the rain.  

 

ETA:  I would also suggest you bring ear plugs.  I wish I had.  It was kind of hard to tune out the TV in the background, along with misc. conversations.  I don't know if all jury waiting rooms have TVs, but there is a lot of ambient noise in the waiting room.  We had a woman come into the waiting room and give us updates, so I wouldn't have had to worry about missing announcements with the ear plugs in.

 

What a great idea! It's so hard for me to concentrate on a book when there are a dozen conversations going on around me AND I am trying to listen for announcements.  I mean, even with earplugs I'l know when it's time to leave since others will start gathering stuff. Earplugs...thanks for that idea! 

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That's like mine. Actually, I am on-call this week. I didn't have to go in today or tomorrow, but they told me to check again after 5:00pm tomorrow. At least it's in criminal court. Last year I had to go in and they told us it was a minimum 2 week trial where an optometrist was suing his accountant. Can anyone think of a more boring thing to sit through than that? I was so glad I didn't make it on that jury.

 

That actually sounds really interesting.

 

I wouldn't want to spend the two weeks. But if I had to, I'd rather be dealing with math and numbers.

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Well, I went. I took a bag with 2 different books, a notepad to take notes, pens, a lunch bag, a water bottle, a coloring book and colored pencils, and my phone. All of it was allowed. 

 

I didn't get picked for a jury, or even for one of the panels, which was kind of a bummer but oh well. 

 

 

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