Jury Duty Survival Tips

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Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

Last week, I was summoned to jury duty.  This was probably my 5th or 6th time being summoned and was my first time being summoned to the Downtown civic center.  I have a love/hate relationship with Downtown LA – mostly I love the area but hate the traffic and congestion.  I had to go for two days, and while it’s never fun to get behind with work, I tried to make the most the time available to me to explore the city.

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

This was the first time I’ve gone to Downtown LA since they completed the new Grand Park.  Grand Park stretches from City Hall all the way to the music center, which is three blocks.  Due to the new park, the usual courthouse parking is now gone, which meant I had to park at the Disney Concert Hall and walk through the park down to the criminal courts building, so I got to know Grand Park very well.  

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

Something Downtown LA was lacking was green space, and Grand Park really helps to remedy that.   It’s a good start – I would love to see more parks like this downtown.  One thing I felt was needed was more shade, but the bright sun didn’t deter me from walking along the paths and admiring the unique foliage.

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

A true highlight for me was the pink furniture.  It even coordinated perfectly with my Kate Spade bag.

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

The only retail space in Grand Park is a Starbucks – so I got my Caramel Macchiato fix each day.

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park
{“Now I’m ready to dispense justice!”}

On Tuesday there was a farmers’ market right outside the criminal courts building, where I was able to get a lamb gyro the size of my head and eat it on the lawn in front of City Hall.

Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park

If you’ve ever been summoned for jury duty, you know the experience can be, well, boring.  But it’s super important.  US citizens are lucky to live in a country where we are innocent until proven guilty by a jury of our peers.  When I’m serving and I feel inconvenienced, I remember that I could possibly find myself in a position someday where I’ll need a compassionate jury to hear my case.

With that said, here are my Budget Fairy Tale tips for making the most of your jury duty experience:

  1. Dress for the part.  Your summons should dictate the desired dress code, but it’s probably casual or business casual.  You want to be comfortable but also respectful.  The courthouse is a busy place where important decisions are made, and it deserves a little respect.  I wore comfortable jeans, black tennies (for all that walking), and nice tops.  And of course, my bright pink Kate Spade bag (the court room attendant said he could always spot me in the crowd).  You’ll see jurors dressed in suits and ties, and also ratty shirts and ripped jeans.  I think it’s good to be somewhere in the middle (unless you have to dress to go straight to work if you were to be dismissed early – then dress for work!).
  2. Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park
  3. Have a good attitude.  Pretty much no one really likes reporting to jury duty.  The courthouse employees have to listen to annoyed people whining all day.  So, be kind and respectful, and replace sighing with smiles.  Your kindness could make someone’s day brighter.
  4. Get a lay of the land.  I was almost late my first day because I didn’t realize how far the walk was from the parking area to the courthouse!  A quick search on Bing maps would have educated me.  Also, save yourself some valuable break time by researching restaurants in the surrounding area.  Or ….
  5. Save money by bringing your own lunch and snacks.  I had a couple snack bars in my purse to nosh on in case I became hungry during the day.  This saved me some money on snacks, but also was a lifesaver because the cafeteria did not have a lot of options for this allergy-plagued girl!
  6. Take the Metro.  If you are easily frustrated by traffic or just want to save a couple bucks, take the Metro!  If your area has a decent public transportation system, use it if you can.  In hindsight, it would have been a great option for me.  The Metro stop was a block away from my assigned courthouse, and I could have gotten some writing done while on the subway.  If I had been assigned to a jury, I would have utilized the Metro, for sure. 
  7. Bring a book!  Go out and buy a new book as soon as you receive your summons.  Depending on how long your service is, you may need a couple books!  There is a lot of waiting involved with jury duty.
  8. Make friends.  It’s going to be a long day, or, if you get assigned to a jury, it’s going to be a long few days.  I recommend getting to know the people around you; it will help your day go by faster and who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone you really connect with!
  9. Hold puppies.  If there is a pet adoption happening near your courthouse, I recommend holding a puppy for a little bit.  It will make your day infinitely better. 
Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park with puppies
{Would you believe they warned me that this little pup was “grumpy?”  I picked him up and gave him some chest scratches and he melted into my arms.  He just needed some love.}

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About Mindy

Mindy Marzec is a life-long Disney fan who grew up in Los Angeles. She started This Fairy Tale Life to share Disneyland travel tips for adults. When not at Disneyland, you can find Mindy at home snuggling with her cats and re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the billionth time.