Stephanie Takes on Jury Duty

As I waited in the large, antiquated room full of about 299 other potential jurors in downtown Manhattan, I tried to hold in my noises of excitement and kid-like grins so no one would start to think I’m crazy. I anxiously looked around waiting for something to happen. For about 20 minutes, nothing did. So I opened my laptop, connected to the original-with-the-building Wi-Fi, and stared at the fading circle chasing itself around my screen waiting for something, anything to load.

Finally the Juror Manager, Ed, walked behind a tall desk in the center of the room and asked for everyone’s attention. A case had come up that needed 20 initial jurors. As he spun the fortune wheel containing one paper card for every human in the room, minus Ed. I somehow knew my fortune and waited for my name to be called. I packed up my computer and gathered my belongings as I listened to each unique name to be called. And alas, “Number 18, Stephanie Borak.” It was my time to shine, invisible gavel in hand.

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When I first got the red-bannered letter in the mail, I was dramatically upset, whining to my doorman friend, and strangers in my elevator. I got into my apartment, Snapchatted a picture to my story, and sent it to my friends with an all-caps UGHHHHH. I assumed this was the appropriate reaction to jury duty summons. However, the more I thought about it, the more excited, but also terrified I got. I’ve watched my share of Law & Order and Legally Blonde, but this was the real deal. I work in fashion, I did not go to law school.

To prepare, I Google searched what to wear to jury duty. Most sites just said business casual attire was appropriate. So I figured, a blazer, simple top and black pants. That was day one. That was all I prepared for. Since I had to go back for day two, I was at a bit of a loss when it came to my juror wardrobe. No one else seemed to take the unspoken business casual dress code too seriously, wearing sweatpants, untied sneaker, and even hoodies. Day two became all about a button down shirt, oversized open cardigan, and black riding leggings. I felt like I was getting good at dressing for court, and just like that, I was dismissed from the case. In addition, I apologize for the lack of distance in these pictures. Asking a uniformed officer to take my picture didn’t seem appropriate, nor did asking a cranky fellow juror. 🙂

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After being dismissed, I was granted an extra long lunch and wandered around the neighboring area of SoHo. I spent my time enjoying the beautiful bright buildings that I don’t usually get to see in my daily Midtown routine. I grabbed something to eat, ran a few errands, and window shopped until my time to return to the juror room came, of course in hopes that there would be another case in the last two hours of the day. My dad always said that I’d make a great lawyer since I love to argue. Maybe this is proof that I’ve missed my calling. Or maybe I’ll just stick with watching it on Netflix.

All in all, my time at the county courthouse was everything I’d hoped it would be. It was an adventure that I feel honored to be chosen for, and I will wait with bated breath for the next six years to pass until I am legally able to serve again.

Until next time fellow patrons!

xx -S

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