So today is my birthday.

31 years of living on one planet can really make you stop and ponder, can’t it?

I had some time to think this weekend…

Emerson Edwards Red Jeans

(and wear my first ever pair of red jeans, which can only help the depth of one’s ponderings…)

What have I contributed to this world?

Why am I here?

What is my purpose in life?

And, most importantly, WHY haven’t I EVER been summoned for jury duty?

Seriously.  I’m 31 years old now.  In my state, you can start serving on juries when you’re 19.

Twelve Years.

No Postcard.

No Explanation.

No Contact AT ALL.

How have I gotten left out of the system?

Ignored, shunned, forgotten…

I pay taxes!

I vote!

I have a social security number!


Not to say that I have some sort of selfless goodwill toward the justice system and a thirst to be a part of the striving for fairness and equality for all.

No – I’m not that altruistic.

I want to see how the justice system really works, when criminals aren’t really trapped by their words and pressured to tell the truth in a burst of dramatic courtroom remorse a là Matlock.

I want to live-tweet a murder trial.

I want to blog every detail of a corporate embezzlement scam.

I want to text my Mom for a lifeline when trying to decide whether they’re guilty or innocent.

I want to be the first to break a stunning courtroom news story.

I want to –

Oh – what was that?  They won’t let you do any of that?

You can’t even check your email during the trial?

Never mind then.

(But it would still be nice to be asked.)

So.  Share.  How old are you, and how many times have you been summoned?

I need to gauge the severity of my Justice System Snubbing.

78 thoughts on “Birthday Introspection.

  1. 43 years old, never been asked – just like the high school prom :(. Seriously, I don’ t know how they pull the jurors in AL, but I’ve never been asked either so don’t feel too jilted. My DH has been a couple of times and he was not overly excited about it. Maybe next year for you – Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday! May it be a very blessed day and year for you!

    I’m 43 and I’ve been summoned twice, actually served once. It’s much less dramatic than on TV, let me tell you. I think moving within the state triggered my name in the system to pop up. My father in law gets summoned frequently and he has only moved once, so who knows how the whole thing works?

  3. I’m 31 and I’ve been summoned once. I was actually excited about it, because I’m nerdy like that. They day I was supposed to go, I called like they told me to and it said that the case was postponed two weeks. Then, the day before the next one, I got a call and said the case had settled out of court so they didn’t need me. So I never even got to go. :(

  4. It was Dec of 2005, just before Christmas. I was 23. I got put on a Capital Murder Trial and was there for two weeks. I remember it well….we went through our two alternates in the first week (blabber mouths). It was a Matlockesk scene too, defense attorneys yelling, slamming their hands down. We ended up with a unanimous guilty verdict and then a recommended life sentence instead of the death penalty. It was quite and experience and can’t wait to do it again. I have heard that renewing your license either triggers a summons, or increases your chance somehow but not sure if that holds any truth.

  5. Happy Birthday!!
    Being on a jury is not as exciting as you think it would be. I got summoned once. Listened to a trial for a week and a half. Then when it was time to make our decision, I was told “You are the alternate. You may leave now.” I was so mad.

  6. I’m 32 and I’ve also never been summoned, although I’m dying to serve. Jeremy (33 years old) just got his first summons a few weeks ago. He was so excited about the idea of jury duty, and getting paid time off from work, and then a week later he got a cancellation notice. Probably my excitement about ever serving would have been ousted before my time even began.

    Happy Birthday!!

  7. I’m three days shy of being 2 years older than you. I’ve never been summoned. I always wanted to know what it would be like to be a juror, but now that I have kids, I hope they wait a while before calling on me. Moving and renewing my license never triggered a call for me.

  8. 31 and 3 times. I haven’t actually servee because two of this summons were from states in which I no longer resided and the last was while I was nursing a new baby, so I was excused. I just moved again, so I expect another summons soon.

  9. I never have either and I’m 27 – not sure if when I moved to TN that my name got bumped to the end of the list or something or what.

  10. Happy Birthday, Rachel!

    I don’t know how it works, but I have been summoned twice in 10 years. The thing is – I’m not a citizen of USA. Go figure…

  11. LOL, I’m so sorry you’ve been left out! I’m 31 and live next door in Georgia. I’ve been summoned 3 times, and served 2 of those. The third time I was winding my way on down to be picked for the jury in a statutory rape trial. My FIL was undergoing chemo and so I had no one to watch my son, and the judge very graciously excused me since I’m a primary caregiver. Who knew that was a legitimate reason to be excused? I actually got to serve on a jury for felony murder. It took 5 days to hear all the evidence and about 15 minutes to reach a guilty verdict. It was interesting about half the time, and mind-numbingly boring about half the time!

  12. 34 and I’ve been summoned maybe five times? My first time I was 19 and I was selected to serve on the jury for a murder trial of a guy my age who murdered another guy my age. I had nightmares for months and now I DREAD being called for jury duty.

  13. I am 39 and have been summoned twice. The first time I went to the courthouse and was told to leave bc I had just gotten married and had moved out of the city limits or something like that. The second time I had a 4 , 3 year ols and was nursing Abbie so I just called them and they excused me. I would really like to serve on a jury, I think. I don’t handle pressure well though. I have a hard time picking out paint colors, so having someone’s life in my hands might be a little too much.

    Happy happy birthday though!!!!!!!!!

  14. Happy Birthday!
    27, never been summoned. Hubby got a summons once in CA before we moved here. My Dad, on the other hand, gets summoned every year (in CA). He’s been in AL now for a year and hasn’t been called, of which, I’m sure he’s super happy for. After 20+ years of jury duty once a year he was MORE than done. :D

  15. Happy happy birthday!

    I used to feel EXACTLY the same about being summoned. Until it happened. And I realized I had two little ones at home and no one to keep them ALL DAY LONG while I sat in a courthouse that was nearly an hour away. Enjoy your time at home with the non-criminals. ;}

  16. I have no idea how the summon some & not others. I’ve never been summoned but my brother (who was 19 at the time) was summoned while at boot camp…way to go justice dept..

  17. I’ve been summoned twice, got out of it the first time because of my small children and out-of-town hubby. The second time, I got put on a jury but they settled before the trial. You basically go and sit in the jurors pool all day (take a book if you get summoned) waiting for them to call you. Day after day… So boring. Then they pay you a whopping $7 (or something ridiculous like that) for your time when your week is up. All in all, not so much the experience you are hoping for. My dad always wanted to be called, too, and never was but David got summoned right after he left for boot camp. Go figure!!

  18. I’m 36 and have been summoned a whopping 5 times in 2 states, including federal duty in Montgomery. I was able to get out of it 3 times (I was in college and also responsible for taking and picking up my little brother from school. And just to clarify – I was called 3 times from the age of 18 to 22) and the other 2 times I showed up, waited all day and was sent home un-needed. On the other hand, my dad is a 62yo vet who has been voting since he was 19, has a driver’s license and has been living in the same house for almost 40 years and he has NEVER been called.

  19. Happy Birthday!! I’m 29 and I have been summoned twice, actually I was summoned twice by the time I was 27. I didn’t have to go the first time because I was in college and I wasn’t picked the second time. :)

  20. Happy birthday!!! I’ll be 31 in 2 1/2 weeks and I’ve never been called on for jury duty. Oh well, it’d be hard to find a babysitter for that long. :)

  21. Happy Birthday! I live in Alabama and will be 28 in 2 days and have never been summoned. My husband is also 28 and has never been summoned. I am definitely not complaining. I’m not one of those “it’s my civic duty” type people. I’m glad those people are out there, but I’m more of a “planning now how to get out of it if the time ever comes” type person.

  22. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day. I’ve been summoned 4-5 times and served on two juries. It was an interesting experience, but much harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been registered to vote 31 years, so use that brilliant math head of yours for my advanced, but fun age. ;)

  23. I’m 28 and I live in Alberta, Canada. I’ve never been called for jury duty either. I would love to once my kids are a little older (4, 2, and 7 months) but right now, it would be a nightmare ;-)

  24. Happy Birthday! I was 29 and hugely pregnant when I got a jury duty notice in the mail. I was so torn! I had always wanted to be a juror, but with two preschoolers at home it was hard enough finding a sitter just to show up for jury selection. So I was sort of glad not to be chosen.

  25. I am 36 (will be 37 in 14 days) and I have been asked once but when I called to see if I had to go down to they didn’t need me afterall. See in Florida you call to see if they still need a jury for that day. I was bummed it took me until I was 35 to be asked and like you I want to do it once, so it was a big let down when they ended up not needing a jury pool that day.

  26. I’m 39 and I’ve been summoned 4 times, served twice. I liked it. I thought it was interesting, plus I got to serve in a federal case and they pay more for federal cases, so that was an extra plus!

  27. Happy Birthday, first of all! :-)

    I’m 29 and have been summoned once, I think? But I called the day before and it was cancelled. So no jury duty for me yet.

    My mom ended up serving on a jury once for a case that involved accusations of child molestation. She hated it. She felt like she needed to take a shower at the end of every day. She had tried to get out of it by pulling the “My son is a cop” line, but that didn’t work. Worked for my sister-in-law, though – “Oh, my husband is a cop.” She didn’t even get to read the book she brought.

  28. Happy Birthday! I am 40 and have been summoned twice. Doubt I will ever forget the jury I was picked for. An older woman killed her husband (who was planning on leaving her) and she just kept him in bed. Her reason for killing him? She did not want him to leave. We let her off on insanity…anyone that sleeps with a corpse, has to have some issues!

  29. I’m…wait. How old am I? I can’t even remember. Oh right. 32. Anyways. I think I’ve been summoned twice but the first time I was about to have a baby or just had a baby and the second time I had multiple babies and was homeschooling and had no one to take care of my kids. I had to decline both times. I was disappointed though because I too have wanted to be on jury duty. Happy birthday!

  30. Happy Birthday! I’m 31 and have been summoned twice, in two different counties. The first time was for a huge class action type of lawsuit and had so many possible jurors we had to meet at the civic center for two weeks. I was still in the pool when we moved to the court house — even got called to the stand about my questions/answers form we were asked to complete. Only to find out, after three weeks of jury selection, that it was being dismissed. The second time, I was 37 weeks pregnant and was measuring three weeks ahead so I was kindly told to high tail it out of there. I want to serve on one too!

  31. Happy Birthday!
    I’m 42, summoned twice. The first time in my early 20’s, actually got into the court room, then after questioning, dismissed by the defendant’s attorney. The second time, mid 30’s, I was about 7 months pregnant and spent half a day in the room where you just sit and read or watch tv until they call your name for a case. I was never called and eventually sent home. I was thankful. :)

  32. I’m thirty-ish, and I’ve been summoned twice. I have to admit that I didn’t really want to go. I got out of it both times though – once because I was a student, and once because I’m a primary care giver. So they might not have kept you anyway. I did get to sit in a smelly holding room with a bunch of other people who didn’t really want to be there… that was nice.

    Happy Birthday!! :)

  33. Happy Birthday! I’m 30 and have lived in Al for 6 years. I was summoned once but when I called ahead to get more information about how long it would take since I needed to get a sitter. I was told that stay at home moms of small kids were exempt from jury duty and was removed from the list. I didn’t even ask they just kicked me off before I even reported. I assume the same would happen to you.

  34. Happy birthday!

    I’m 26 and have never been called, but my husband is an ADA so I get to hear about “the way the law really works” every day. Plus, I get to hear his entertaining stories about selecting juries (by “entertaining stories” I mean “listen to him whine about how hard it is”). Turns out courts are simultaneously super boring and super interesting, all at the same time.

    Plus, most of the lawyers on all sides are pretty friendly and almost everything gets settled out of court or with a non-jury trial. Also, the judges give all their lawyers Christmas presents but you’re not allowed to give them Christmas presents because that would be bribery or something. So you have to, like, bake a bunch of cookies and make sure the judge knows she should check in the kitchen for snacks available to the whole courthouse. So tricksy.

  35. Happy Birthday! There are better things to do with your time. I’m 51 and I have been called 5 times. The first time I had a business trip so was excused. The second time I sat all day in the waiting room and nothing happened. They ended up not needing jurors that day . The third and fourth time I was nursing and was excused. The fifth time I got picked. I was so excited because like you I had always wanted to see how the system worked fortunately I had taken a book. I sat in a room with the other jurors for half a day and told to come back in the morning. In the morning we sat in a little room around a table for half a day. I had thought the trial would begin right away and foolishly did not take a book. We all sat there and stared at each other. There was one newspaper to pass around. Finally the judge came in and said they had reached a plea bargain and we could go home.

    Interestingly like a few others said, my son was summoned the week after he left for Basic Training.

  36. Happy Birthday! I was 27 and 5 months pregnant with my son when I was first summoned. I got on a case about some diet protein drink and it lasted a week. The second time was about 7 years later and I was let go the first day. I wouldn’t want to do it again.

  37. Happy Birthday!!

    I am 45 and have been asked 4 times though I have never been inside a courtroom. I have always been excused within the first 5 or 6 hours. The first time I was in college and I did not have a car – walked to work and the college. I accepted and then found out I had a test that day tried to reschedule and they said no way. Had to ride city transportation to get there and back. Thankfully I was let out around noon and my class started at 2pm. Second time it was right near the Christmas holiday so they said that court would be closed and I did not have to even come in. Third time I had to borrow my sis – in- law’s car (we only had one at the time) and came back from lunch and they let me go. This last time about 2 years ago I was able to get to (work) family business to relieve brother in law in time for his lunch. Our state used to pay the first day I think it was $13 or $15 and they used to pay mileage if you lived 20 miles or more away from the courthouse. Now you only get paid after the 3rd day and only mileage if it is 50 miles or more.

  38. I’m in a similar boat… 29, never been called. Though I partially blame it on living in four different states since I turned 18. But still, seriously, I’ve stayed put for like seven years now. Glad to know it’s not just me.

  39. Happy birthday!

    I am 36 and have never been summoned for jury duty. My mom’s been called five or six times in her life.

    And I’m a lawyer and would LOVE to see a trial from the jury’s perspective. Of course, the fact that I’m a lawyer means I’d never be picked.

    But anyway, I totally hear you on the jury duty.

  40. 34 years old. I’ve been summoned once, had to call in every evening for a week, but never had to show up. My husband is 35, has been summoned 3 times, once for town court and the case was cancelled, once for county court and he had to sit in the jury pool but wasn’t selected and was sent home, once for grand jury and he had to call in once a week for a month but was never actually called. (This was NY state)

  41. Happy birthday! I’m 29 and have been called once just for municipal court. I really want to serve on a jury (as a lawyer, I think it would be really interesting) but as Elle said, it will probably never happen because I’m a lawyer (and a litigator who has worked in the criminal justice system to boot!). When I was called for municipal court I knew I wouldn’t be picked (just a numbers game, I was too far back in the list) but we never got a chance because the defendant plead guilty as soon as we walked in the courtroom.

  42. I am 28 years old (closing in on 29!) and I have never been summoned for jury duty. Although, I’m not sure I would actually want to serve, I think it would be awesome to at least go and see what it’s all about. And having a paid day or two off work would be extra nice :)

  43. 54…ouch…hard to say that. Summoned 3 or 4 times and sat in the jury pool but not chosen for an actual trial. Summoned once to the grand jury and served for 6 months. Had to go every Wednesday for 6 months and hear capital cases and decide whether to indict. While on grand jury did a study of the prison system in Florida. (All of this was when I lived in Miami) Haven’t been summoned all in Alabama 8 1/2 years or the 2 1/2 years I lived in North Carolina. Always thought it was because I wasn’t from around here! :)

  44. Happy birthday!

    I’m 29 in March and just got called for the first time. Assuming the trial doesn’t get cancelled or postponed I’m supposed to go in on November 5th.

    I’m looking forward to it, although we’re having some childcare hurdles. Sigh.

  45. 36 and have been called twice. It was mind numbingly boring. The first time the case was settled out of court the first day we got there. The second day I spent all day getting called and shuffled with different groups. Then got put in a room where we were told we would receive further instruction. After a long wait they told us we were the group they were dismissing. I wanted to serve both times because I work an hour from home and jury duty was in my hometown 10 mins from my house. It would have been nice to not be commuting for a couple of hours each day and still get paid! Oh well.

  46. Happy Birthday!

    I’m 25 and I’ve never been summoned. I wouldn’t mind it if I do get called, but I can’t say I’m just dying for the day it happens, either.

  47. Happy Birthday! =) (Gorgeous view to celebrate, BTW!) Such a wonderful day for a birthday, isn’t it?

    28.5 years old and summoned twice I think, both in GA. I remember writing a letter to be excused from the first one because I was in college out of state (AL) and unable to attend. The second one was when I was out here (OR) before we got married so I technically had an address in GA still but wasn’t actually in the state so I either called or emailed them to tell them I wasn’t in town and I got a “deferment” but they never summoned me again. And then, of course, I did move officially (new driver’s license, re-register to vote, etc.) and Oregon hasn’t summoned me yet. I’m not looking forward to it and have always looked forward to using the same excuses my parents did to get off the hook: I have a family member in law enforcement. (Apparently they don’t like you for jury duty if they think you’ll automatically take the cop’s side of things.) My uncle is retired state patrol and my cousin is a city cop. My husband was called after he moved from one part of OR to the other but hadn’t re-registered yet so they let him off since he didn’t live there anymore. (I know, I know….we’re boring!) =)

  48. I’m 35 and have never been summoned. I also would like to serve, but they would probably never choose me because I am married to a police officer.

  49. 46; been living in Alabama 13 years and have never been summons that I can recall. Lived in Louisiana previously…summoned several times and actually served. Not impressed with our justice system. I am not a natural skeptic but definitely a realist. Would avoid trial by jury.

  50. I’m 28. I was summoned once when I was 18 or 19, but I had moved away to college, so I didn’t actually serve. Haven’t been summoned since. I did know someone who served on murder trial. The trial was lasted 3 days and was very cut and dry. Some really old lady poisoned someone! They quickly and easily reached a unanimous guilty verdict.

  51. I’ve been summoned once, but I was in college out of state. My sister in law, however, gets called to jury duty at least 2x a year (she’s 36), and this despite the fact that they move about every 2 yrs or so!

  52. Happy Birthday Rachel! I turned 34 yesterday and have been summoned multiple times in CA. It must have something to do with the population density vs. the crime rate. A couple of years ago I ended up on an attempted murder trial with additional counts of being gang-related. The guy even had some of his gang buddies come into the courtroom audience and try to stare us down – the judge had to kick them out. They brought in extra security at our request when we read the verdict (guilty). I seriously would not have been surprised if one of his buddies had shown up at my front door. Quite the experience….

  53. I’m 38 and I’ve had Jury Duty 6 times. Yes, you read that right..6 times! It’s beyond crazy. I hope they’ll replace me with you from now on!

  54. I’m 28 and I’ve been summoned just once. I was 20 at the time. The day of my jury duty was the day my tuition was due, and I couldn’t get anyone at my school to confirm that my scholarship money had been received. I went up to the judge at the very beginning of the “session” and told him that if I didn’t get to leave I wouldn’t be able to take my classes that semester, so he let me leave to go check on my tuition. I’d like to be called again! (I’ve lived in AL for all 28 of these years!)

  55. I’m 44 and have been called once (in Jefferson County) when I was 19 or 20. I actually got on the first jury they picked and we sat through two days of presentations before the judge decided there wasn’t enough evidence and dismissed the case. I’ve been in Shelby County for over 20 years now and have never been called. I would actually enjoy even a week of sitting in the waiting room so I might have a chance to catch up on some of my reading!

  56. I’m 36 and have been called twice. The first time I was in college and had to be excused from it so I wouldn’t miss classes. This last time was a few months back and I was looking forward to it. I finally got put on a jury and then the case was postponed, so I had to go back through the jury selection process. The second case I was up for, I knew one of the witnesses and wasn’t picked. After that I was relieved from selection. There were people there that had been called up SEVERAL times apparently. I wonder how that works. I was informed that they use your Alabama Driver’s license to pull the numbers, not your voter registration or your SS#. I thought that was interesting.
    Best of luck!

  57. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

    I am almost 33 and have never been sumoned. My MIL is doing her civic duty right now in GA though. My husband was called once while in college and since he was out of state they told him to come serve over Christmas break. No getting out of it in Georgia.

    I hope you get your dream of serving soon.

  58. I turned 34 on Saturday, and I’ve never been summoned (we live in TN). Almost everyone I know has been at least once if not multiple times, but not me.

  59. I’m 38 years old and last year was the first time I was ever summoned. I always thought it was because we moved so often :) Maybe I just stayed ahead of the system lol

  60. Those red jeans are HAWT. And happy belated birthday. :-) Every time I get asked it’s in the middle of some crisis like adopting or having twins and I need to not get picked for it. But I want to do it some day. It’s on my bucket list for after all the people here can wipe their own butts.

  61. Happy (late) birthday! I hope 31 is an awesome year for you and yours!
    And I was summoned right before my 24th birthday.
    I was selected.
    It was a murder trial.
    It took me away from my (highly important) job as a Senior Sales Associate at Belk for an entire week.
    The D.A.’s assistant was extremely handsome.
    I think the guy was guilty, but with insufficient evidence, we were a hung jury.
    The story will end up an entire chapter in my autobiography, no doubt.

  62. 32. 3 times. But they have awful timing. The first time I was getting married and moving across the state, making me ineligible. The second we just moved across the river but it was a different county so again, ineligible. The third time I had to ask for it to be deferred but I did finally get to serve. I cannot say I enjoyed it per say, but it is something I want to do and am willing to do. I hope I get another summon.

  63. I’ve been summoned 7 times and thankfully never had to serve once. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe being on a jury is a duty and shouldn’t be shirked, but every single time I’ve already had plane tickets for vacation, or the jury got cancelled, or I had a nursing infant (like, infant, infant).

    I remember begging the head of the jury selection not to pick me because I had a 1 month old baby and no one to watch him (as I was nursing, had never used a bottle, and had no family in the area and no friends because we’d just moved). The Head was so mean he nearly had me in tears, and the whole time he was “talking” there was a huge poster behind him that said “Don’t Abandon Your Child”.

  64. In my 50’s! Never been asked. Moved four times within this state. My daughter’s 24 and has been summoned twice. Go figure. And Happy Belated Birthday, Rachel!

  65. First happy belated birthday! :) I hope your day was pretty darn special! :) As for jury duty, I am 35 and was just summoned for the first time ever. I had to send a request to defer for now since it was literally 4 days after my Step-Dad passed away that I received the notice and we had to figure out things with a funeral, the continued care for my Mom, sorting through belongings, etc. But supposedly I might hear something come December again. Not sure if I will or not. My daughter’s father isn’t even from this state and he has been summoned twice in the last few years. I teased him about being called to serve on a jury and here I’ve lived in the same city my entire life and had never been summoned for jury duty. lol I guess that’s what I get. I don’t mind though serving on a jury. I just hope if I get chosen it is something interesting that won’t want to make me fall asleep. I don’t want to be sequestered though and away from my daughter for weeks and weeks though.

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