Many of my Facebook followers probably know that I was one of the "lucky" 9,000 to receive a jury summons for the upcoming trial of the Aurora theater shooting, or "Suspect A" as the local news media is calling him because they don't want to glorify his name...which is one of the few rational things I've seen from the news media in a long time.
I've now been dismissed from the trial, so I can actually talk about my experience, which still seems a bit surreal. As always, the first thing we had to do was go through the metal detectors. We were then given our badges with our juror numbers and sent to the second floor of the building. Once there, we again had to empty our pockets, and this time the deputies actually searched through our stuff. We were then sent to a small courtroom where we sat for something like 90 minutes, constantly being told to keep our phones turned off, even though we weren't actually doing anything.
They then escorted all of us (and I'd guess there were 150-200 of us) to a larger courtroom. As we walked in we were pointed to seats. Somehow I had the "good fortune" of being sent to the jurors box. As I approached the box, I could see all of the prosecuting attorneys, all of the defense attorneys, and then I saw HIM. Suspect A was there. This was one of those cliched moments where my flesh crawled and my stomach did somersaults. I've written those words before, but I'd never quite felt that feeling as strongly as I did that day. I've never been that close (10-15 feet) to a mass murderer. My seat in the jury box gave me a perfect view of him, and at one time I'm pretty sure we made eye contact, although he was trying to look detached...obviously trying to play up the insanity defense.
Once we were sworn in, we took a recess, and then we had to fill out a long questionnaire on a wide variety of topics (by this time he'd been removed and hopefully sent back to his hole). The questionnaire, I'm sure is what disqualified me. I have kids to take care of, I can't take 4-6 months off from work, I'm opposed to the death penalty, and I understand the difference between mentally ill and insane, which they seemed to be using interchangeably, even though they shouldn't.
Now I've been dismissed, and I couldn't be happier!