I am very happy to say that I am done with Federal Grand Jury duty, hopefully neither Superior or the Federal government with bother me for another 2 years. To clarify, it wasn't petit jury, where you sit for a trial and it wasn't Superior court, where they deal with local laws. No, our purpose was to sit there, listen to testimony for hundreds of cases regarding federal laws being broken and every so often indict people. This for a couple days a week, for 18 months, even through a government shutdown.
It was a good learning experience, mainly because of my fellow jurors. I believe it helped greatly that the person acting as jury foreman had management experience, and could manage a diverse group of people. Secondly there was another juror who catered our service. The juror provided daily snacks, mints, facial tissues, coffee, and occasionally lunch with potato salad, soup, gigantic hunks of fried chicken, and a slew of other hot & cold foods I can not recall. Our "caterer" had a warm and giving spirit with a true heart of serving their fellow citizen. Many other jurors enjoyed assisting the "caterer" with clean up or other tasks. It was the efforts of the foreman and the "caterer" who made the jury room a great congenial environment.
The room needed to be friendly because of grand jury secrecy. There are things that come up, testimony that is given that you feel compelled to talk about, but the only people you can talk about it with are on the jury, so it helps if you feel comfortable with each other. At home I spoke of what happened at court in the vaguest of terms. Some, myself included, became less vague when what we heard made its way to the pages of the Washington Post or some internet news page. In my head I'd note what wasn't mentioned by the press.
If you ever have to sit on a Federal grand jury in DC, you will deeply interact with one of the most diverse groups in the city. Jurors came from every quadrant of the city, NE, NW, SE and SW. We had a good mix of book smarts and street smarts, education and experience. Because the service is so long, there is time to better know people, hear their life stories between cases, during lunch, before a quorum is reached, at the end of the day, over a drink at the Capitol Grill, wherever. Anyway, I'm still glad its over.
Next: Federal Grand Jury pt.2- Justice is a slow a$$ b!tch.