Let me make some observations about this time. First of all, in the jury waiting room, where all the 250+ potential jurors wait to see if they are needed, very few people talked with each other. Two men whom I sat beside knew each other; they talked at first but then stopped. Later, at midday, I noticed a young man and woman speaking to each other. Amazingly, they were loud; they could be heard over the movie. I was going to talk to the one man beside me and ask how he broke his foot, but then I noticed his eyes were shut. I did speak to one man while we were waiting in the courtroom, but he never responded.
Overall, most people kept to themselves, including me. In fact, that was how people sat, unless you came in near the end. People tried to place themselves at least two or three seats away from another person. We wanted our space.
How do you occupy that time? Well, the county figured out the best way to handle 250 people who basically don't know each other is to entertain them through movies. They have three large screens to show the movies, one screen for each section. Every chair faces the screen. Plus, the movies were not quietly played; the volume was loud and clear. However, if you wanted to do something else, such as reading, it took great effort to concentrate, for they played the volume loud enough for all to hear. After a while, I gave up.
While I am on the subject of noise, let me tell you about the white noise in the court room. During a time in which jurors were talking with the judge and the lawyers (telling them why they could not be involved in a trial for more than one day), one of the court officials turned on loud static noise. At first I wondered what was happening to their sound system. I then realized they were playing the noise to hinder anyone but the people at the judge's bench from hearing. It worked. But, I was glad to have quiet once again.
Is there a conspiracy against silence?
The judge asked us some general questions about fairness to help weed us out: Did we know the judge and the lawyers? Did we know the witnesses, a long list was given? Did we hear about the case? Would we treat a policeman's testimony without any bias - neither for the good or the bad? There were a few other questions. The goal: fairness.
I wondered how fair I could have been if I had served on the jury. It would have been an interesting experience, yet I am glad I don't have to make such decisions. How does one determine that a person is telling the truth? Even in our introductory videos in the jury room, we were told to not only listen to the words, but also watch the body language. In other words, people lie, so don't believe everything you hear. So, how can one be fair and unbiased, when people are trying to bias you toward their side? Actually, we probably deal with this situation every day. Family members, friends, salespeople and so many others want to persuade us to buy this product, do this task, and so forth. Of course, I don't know if we even bother trying to be fair all the time. Anyway, the judge wanted us to pursue fairness.
One final note: pews are not only used in church; they are used in the courtroom for the audience. Yes, they are hard.