Civic Duty

By Georgia Osten
I’ve been scheduled for months for jury duty in Galveston County. I remember one other time in my life I was called, it was in Harris County. I had to go downtown, which is intimidating enough, and I was scared to death. I didn’t get chosen. I had no idea I would be chosen this time either. There must have been over a hundred of us who had been initially summoned to appear at 11:15 on Monday morning. I brought a book, thank goodness, there was a lot of down time.

We saw a video, I think it was intended to calm us down, it had some humor. The Commissioner began by thanking us for showing up. He told us it would be a short week, Good Friday was a holiday for the County. There were a lot of instructions, then the Judge asked if anyone had an excuse and would need to be dismissed prior to voir dire. About 25 people single filed up to the Judge to explain why they should be dismissed.

Next, about 25 were named. They were told they had until 1:30 to make it to Court in Texas City. Next, another 25 were called and told to go to a Courtroom there at the Courthouse in Galveston. The next 25 included my name. We went to Courtroom 1 in Galveston. This didn’t mean I was in yet. They called our names to go into the Courtroom. I was number 2, sitting right up front. O Dear!

Each attorney asked questions of each of us, then we were told to go wait outside the Courtroom. About 30 minutes later, the Bailiff came out to call the chosen ones. Number 1 – Me, then six more. Oh, d’ d’ dear dear.

The next three days were grueling. We had to be there by 10 and I didn’t get home until after 5 each day. It felt like I was employed again. I haven’t taken so many notes since I was back in school. The jurors got to know each other, we weren’t allowed to discuss the case though.

Finally, after we had all the evidence, it was 1pm on the third day, the six of us went into deliberation. Our attorneys were excellent, they were very well informed, we had so many exhibits to read over, it was a clear case, we were unanimous in our decision.

When we finished deliberation, we were brought back into the Courtroom. The Judge read our findings and just about everyone sighed a breath of relief. The Judge came into our room and thanked us wholeheartedly for being there.

All the attorneys were waiting for us as we filed out of our room. I thought, “Oh my gosh, what did we do wrong?” They just wanted to thank us and ask what they might have done better. What an experience! I’ll never forget these people and the circumstances.

GO’s Sand Bucket is only one beach bum’s journal of life at the beach, probably something each of you can relate to. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts, visions and/or feelings of just exactly what the beach means to you. Email:


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