Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user a digital cure

“Dear PoP,

I found this thread about federal grand jury duty, but wondered if you could get some of your readers who have done the DC Superior Court grand jury? I am asking specifically about GRAND jury service – which is not the one day/one trial type of jury duty many think of. This is the type where you hear evidence and decide if there’s enough to indict a suspect – not to pass a guilty/not guilty verdict.

I was called for the 5 day per week for 25 business days schedule. I got some good info from the comments in the past post, but it was about FEDERAL grand juries (2 days per week for 18 months) and I am on the DC SUPERIOR grand jury (every day for 5 weeks). I am serving starting April 25 – I was originally called to start Feb. 14th but was able to defer to give myself some time to prepare. I have also read ALL available materials on the DC Superior Court juror services website – regarding deferrals and hours and stipends, but some of it is for petit juries and I know that grand juries are a bit different.

Thus, some real experience answers to the following questions would be great:
-Will you always go from 9-5 every day? Or do you sometimes get out early?
-Is there downtime outside of lunch hours where I might be able to bring my laptop and squeeze in some work?
-Is the quorum still16 out of 23 – so if I’m sick or I desperately need to go into work once or twice, I could get a day off?
-How does the reimbursement and travel stipend work for federal employees? My HR department has just said to log the time as a special jury duty project code instead of a normal work code, nothing about where I need to turn in my checks or travel stipend (I get the federal public transport subsidy already so I don’t need it).
-Any other tips or suggestions for making it bearable?

I’m definitely not going to try to get out of serving. I’m glad to do my duty, but like many I have work concerns and just want to know what projects I should try to keep to work on at home in the evenings, and what projects I need to burden my coworkers to cover for me. I’m lucky that I’m a federal employee working on education and societal improvement projects – my work atmosphere is very supportive and encourages volunteerism and civic participation. Some of the stories of your readers with bosses and coworkers who resented them or denied them promotions are terrible. But I am still facing extra work in light of the budget crisis and staffing issues and want to make sure my programs and grantees get the same kind of service while I’m out as I would provide normally.”

Anyone have experience with DC Superior Court grand jury duty?


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