Grand Jury Lessons


Usually getting a Grand Jury Summons in the mail is met by most with feelings of annoyance and frustration.  I can say with certainty, that when I received it I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. It was going to turn my routine upside down the next month (20 days).  However, I felt compelled more than ever to serve especially with the political climate that is going on now.

Grand Jury is very different from regular Jury Duty.  In Grand Jury duty, you and 22 other jurors are there to determine whether the Assistant District Attorney has enough evidence to indict (charge) a person for a crime.  In order to charge someone with a crime, there has to be a quorum. This means that at least 16 people must be present and 12 people or more have to decide that the person should be indicted or dismissed for a crime.  

Every experience offers an opportunity to learn and grow.  

Here are 3 distinct lessons I learned while serving Grand Jury Duty:

  1. Observe the facts and don’t get caught up in the story.  For example: If something went missing you can make the conclusion that perhaps someone took it.  However, when you search for the item you end up finding it and discover that your initial judgment was wrong.

Know that your mind will do everything and anything to hold on to that story you made up to make you right. Your mind naturally wants to fill in the blanks.  Once you recognize this, you can notice it and make a different choice.

So was the case at Grand Jury Duty, I naturally wanted to know details to a story that did not actually pertain to the actual charge.  I had to take a step back, look at the facts of the case and base my vote on the definitions of the law. The story that went along with the charge did not matter in most cases.  

If are able to observe facts in your own life and let go of the story, it can give you the freedom to choose something else.  

2.  Be patient:  There were days we sat for 2 hours only to be let go without any presentation or explanation.  The government definitely works on its own time, not yours. At that moment, I had a choice to either decide to be mad or just accept that I was there and make the best of the situation.  

Life works on its own time, it will never meet our expectations 100%.  We have a choice to enjoy the way there or suffer. Instead of thinking about all the things I could get “done” and how my time was being wasted I choose to enjoy the quiet and brought a book (The Power of TED by David Emerald). Stay tuned for the next blog I super excited to share what I learned!!

3.  Pay attention and listen wholeheartedly:  At the end of the presentation of evidence, all the jurors had to work together to vote.  Some jurors had questions or viewed the evidence in different ways. We had to listen to one another and base our vote on our recollection of the evidence.  This helped me to come up with a more objective conclusion.

Now it’s your turn, was there a story you told your yourself that influenced the way you handled a situation? What did you do?  

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