Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jury Update

Well, Hubby dodged the bullet last month.  He did serve that first time, about 3 days' worth or so.  He was called to appear for selection each of the next 3 weeks, but when he double-checked the night before, he learned that the case had been settled already.  Thank you Lord!  

My plan to show up for May selection with the 3 girls has had Hubby a bit worried.  We've heard of less-than-nice Jury Commissioners who take issue with such shenanigans, and the last thing I need is a Contempt of Court charge.

So at his request, I called at the end of April to find out what could be done.

I don't have a babysitter.

No daycare.  And wouldn't.

No, a 4-month delay won't help; I'm having ANOTHER child in 3 months, and it's not going to be any easier to arrange this then.

Are you kidding, my husband served last month, at great cost of income, and there's no way we can afford that again.

No, all the local relatives work full-time.

Well, yes, I have some friends, but they all have babies to care for and I can't ask them to watch 3 more for an entire day or days.

Sure, my grandma probably would drop her schedule, but she lives 2 hours away and is vision-impaired (though she still manages to pass her driver's test).  I'm NOT comfortable asking her, because I hopefully have many years ahead of me, and I don't want them wracked with guilt if she kills herself or someone else on the freeway.

My mom is dead.

Oh, my (step)mom would love to, but she lives 12 hours away and is in the middle of custody issues with my stepbrother's children who live with them, and the whole 'crossing state lines' thing right now is probably unwise.


Okay, there's a cousin.  But she has and homeschools her own 3 children, is taking some classes at college, works weekends, and most days watches another (working, going-to-school) cousin's 2 boys.  It would kill me to ask her.

I have to kill myself?  Seriously?  You know, for a state usually such a nice shade of red, this is sure not a very family-friendly policy.  Yes, I know you don't want to exclude any particular demographic, but yikes.


The "alternative" they offer to 'cases' like me is for me to select any Wednesday/Thursday window of the month and serve on 'magistrate court' from half- to full-days.  Of course, the last minute settling of cases would cancel this out, but I wouldn't be 'on call' every week like the regular jurors are.

So after telling the lady I would do my best, and REALLY trying to work this out, I finally killed myself - er, called the cousin to ask if watching my kids for 0-2 days might possibly work for her.  She mostly agreed, and I continued to try to find other options.  I couldn't.  She called on May 4 to let me know that the 6th and 7th would work, though she was watching the other cousin's boys from 2-5pm those days.  I said I'd call and put myself on the schedule for those days.

I called the Jury People, who told me the 6th and 7th were already 'taken' and in fact I was supposed to show up the following day at 8:45.  *gasp!*  Oh, but it looks like the case was just settled, so you don't have to show up after all.  *pant, pant, collapse*  They didn't say I had to call the week beforehand last time I spoke with them!  The cousin is leaving town on the 18th, so there weren't a whole lot more Wednesday/Thursdays I could take; I took the 13th (tomorrow!) and 14th while it was still available and hoped it would work for the cousin.  THANKFULLY, it did.

So now I pray the case(s) will be settled, and wonder about leaving Organique for so many hours.  I am actually asking SOMEONE ELSE to change her diaper.  How will she nap?  What if she climbs their counters and snatches a fistful of butter?  At least her sisters will be with her, but they are not Mama either.  Too, I'm wondering about the miracle that will have to be performed to get myself and 3 kids not just out of bed by 8:00 a.m. but in the van and ready for an entire day (or two) by 8:00 a.m.



MamaJ said...

Oh my goodness, how incredibly stressful. What a ridiculous justice system we have created in this country. Praying it will be resolved and you will not have to go in!

EllaJac said...

Prayers answered, thanks MamaJ! I think I'm even off the hook for tomorrow, which means I'm off the hook entirely!

Meghann said...

I cannot believe your state makes it so hard for moms at home with children! That is insane! So thankful Texas does not, but unfortunately that does not help you...I will say a prayer for you friend on my walk tonight :)

home handymum said...

How ridiculous! you're right - very un-family-friendly.

annie said...

When you mentioned this in your email, I really could not believe you might actually have to go through with this. I'm still having a hard time believing they made you go as far as they did. For heaven's sake! Some people never get selected for jury! Why don't they pull those people, who never get selected though they have nothing preventing them from serving, instead of you, who legitimately cannot do it?

I was asked once, but I was in college and just had to fax a copy of my student id along with my driver's license and was excused. I wonder if Florida excuses mothers at home with young children. I should look that up!

I'm glad you didn't need to go after all, but what a pain!

Kristin said...

I feel for you! I was supposed to be on jury duty several years ago, but I was able to send in a letter from my OB-GYN stating I was still breastfeeding. I was shocked at how family-friendly the policy was! Sounds like your state isn't so understanding!

EllaJac said...

Kristin, As far as I know, that (or any other 'reason') only grants you a 4-month extension. Obviously, that's not usually long enough, depending on the age of your child.
There is a way out with a 'medical reason' verified by a doctor. I, however, stay as far from them as possible, and I don't know if my midwife's signature would be enough!