I reported for my summons to do jury duty today here in Seattle today, at the King County Superior Court in downtown. The Superior Court is where criminal cases* are brought by the State of Washington against defendants.
*[From www.findlaw.com] The American legal system is comprised of two very different types of cases, criminal and civil. Crimes are generally offenses against the state and society (murder, violent crimes), and are accordingly prosecuted by the State. Civil cases on the other hand, are typically disputes between individuals regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe one another. Criminal cases can result in jail time; in civil cases monetary damages are awarded. A defendant in a criminal case is entitled to an attorney, and if he or she can’t afford one, the State must provide an attorney. A defendant in a civil case is not given an attorney and must pay for one, or else defend him or herself.
Here are some King County Superior Court statistics –
> Serves the 14th most populous county in the nation
> Handled a caseload of almost 53,000 new cases in 2013
> Has 53 judges and 12 commissioners
> Supported by 520 staff in Superior Court and the Dept of Judicial Administration
So did I get to sit in on a court case as a juror? No, but I might tomorrow – on a short case. One of the cases is expected to go for 6 or 7 weeks, but enough jurors were found by the time my badge number was called. (Whew).