Clackamas Jury Duty

I was recently called for jury duty. I really want to be on a jury; participation is important. It’s rarely convenient though.

I tried to find out what to expect and found next to nothing. Is there wireless internet so I can work while I wait? Power outlets? Coffee? That’s not covered on the page about jury duty. So this is to answer some of the questions I had for the next person to try to look this up. I hope it helps.

To get there from Lake Grove on the bus, I would have had to take a bus up to Portland and another bus from there to Oregon City, a 2-hour bus ride altogether. By car, it was 11 miles. Maybe the court could work with Trimet to add a route in the morning? Fortunately no one else in my family needed the car.

Finding the parking lot was pretty easy, and parking was free because the payment kiosk was broken. The room where the jurors meet to do the initial paperwork is easy to find. It’s on the north side of the street and there was a sign on sidewalk. There were more signs inside, so it would be hard to get lost.

There were about 90 people in room as of the posted start time, 7:45. I didn’t count but it looked like there was room for about 110 jurors. About 10 people showed up late. There was no consequence for being late that I could see.

When you walk in they tell you to take a ‘Juror’ button. At each seat there is a clipboard with a pen and 3 pages to fill out; personal info, payment, and safety rules. They said you have to put your juror number on the top and bottom of each page, but only the first two have a place at the top for the juror number.

My juror number was the highest as of the night before, at 291. When they started calling people for jury selection, there were some numbers in the 400’s. None of those people answered to the numbers. It turns out that they sometimes reassign numbers and it doesn’t look like they told the people whose numbers they reassigned. Fortunately they tried names when the numbers didn’t get any response and that worked. I guess they don’t reassign names.

There were two intro videos, one about why they call people to serve on juries and one about how the Clackamas court works. The first (and only) question after the videos ended was “what if you’re on a jury and you have to go to the bathroom?”. Good question, and the answer was pretty simple and clear. After talking a little about security, the jury coordinator said that carabiners are a big deal, though there was no no explanation as to why. I googled a little and found that someone once got a small knife into a courtroom disguised as a carabiner. So this is a shoe-bomber response as far as I can tell; “No carabiners because someone did something scary once and it looked like a carabiner.”

After the videos and a break that included lines at both bathrooms, they played a video of an Eagles concert (sort of, some of the songs were post-Eagles) on the screens, too loudly to ignore or to talk over. There was not a lot of conversation, though a few people who seemed to know each other did sit and chat. That started about 8:50.

Open WiFi is available. It was very VERY slow, and many ports seemed to be blocked. You can surf the web, but I think just about everything else is blocked. I started a scan to see if any other ports were open but after 20 minutes I still had no results so I gave up.

There are a couple long tables in the room near two outlets, but signs on the table say they are not for juror use. About 9:35 people started sitting at the table anyway, clustered around the closest power outlet. I saw no consequences for ignoring the signs on the table.

At 10:00 a bunch of people were called by juror number to line up for the walk to the courthouse for selection. They were cautioned that security was just like the airport only more sensitive to metal, and that the ‘Juror’ buttons would set off the metal detector. They said that beverages were OK but you’d have to drink some in front of the security people. After they left, the jury coordinator told us that the other cases had been cancelled or rescheduled, so those of us not chosen for the first jury pool were released.

So I was there for less than 3 hours, not counting drive time. I still want to have the experience of being on a jury…