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The Slice: Entering the courtroom has its own set of trials

Fri., Sept. 27, 2013, midnight

Slice readers had tips for me as I face jury duty in November.

“Leave your weapons at home,” wrote John Kafentzis. “You have to go through a mini TSA-like screening. So give yourself lots of time.”


“Take something to read, and some healthy snacks,” wrote Maggie Fritz. “Even a reporter might get tired of people-watching for all the sitting around you do the first day.”


“One thing worth knowing about jury duty is that the courthouse has free Wi-Fi,” wrote Lawrence Killingsworth. “You can bring your portable device and surf the Web (or write your column) while you wait (and wait, and wait …) in the jury room.”


“Just hope and pray you are not an alternate,” wrote Gary Erickson.

He said you have to sit through the whole thing and then, if a juror doesn’t drop out, you don’t even get to weigh in when it comes time for deliberations.

“Have an open mind,” wrote Lisa Giegel.

Noel Cave wrote, “Since my case was a criminal case, the hardest part was realizing that I was being asked to sit in judgment on someone else and determine the course of their life.”

Erik Michels said reporting bumper stickers such as “Visualize my piece” on the personal-information form might have kept him from being selected for a trial.

Ron Bart suggested I confirm that my employer will compensate me for any work days missed.

“Be grateful you live in a country where there is an attempt at a fair trial for all,” wrote Liz Schatz.

Among readers’ other observations, a suggestion from Marty Jones stood out.

“Thousands of people are summoned for jury duty every year in Spokane County,” he wrote. “Everyone meets in the jury lounge the first day and there are random pictures hanging on the walls of court-related themes, judges, et cetera.”

His idea? “Bring in a framed picture of yourself and hang it up. Then wait to see how long it takes until someone notices it doesn’t belong there. It could be decades.”

I’ll take that under advisement.

Today’s Slice question: Who argued more – your parents or you and your spouse?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Not everybody went to the same high school as their siblings.

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