Last Thursday I had the opportunity to go downtown Salt Lake City for jury duty. I've never done this before. What a great adventure!
I was one of eighteen people summoned that day. Out of eighteen only four would serve on the jury. I had always thought twelve people were needed, but in Utah the law does not state the number of people that makes up a jury, so for this case they were using four.
After filling out forms, watching a video about serving, and waiting for a couple of hours, we were ushered into the courtroom. We were sworn in and then the judge asked all of us a number of questions.
I found the process very interesting and a great place to people watch for future stories. (Aren't the best characters where you least expect them?) There were wonderful personalities all around me: from the jury pool, to the judge, and even the clerk. They weren't at all the cardboard characters you see on TV courtroom dramas. Real life is much more intriguing. I found an awesome hero: tall, muscular ex-marine who was respectful of those in authority, and yet had a gentle manner. I also found a great secondary character: female student who couldn't drive a car, drank cup after cup of coffee and had the innocent face of a waif. Oh, did I mention the attorneys? and the officer testifying? and ... well you get my drift. The room was packed with wonderful traits to give characters.
After the judge finished asking us questions, the prosecutor and the defense attorney chose the four to serve.
I was not chosen. I was glad and sad at the same time. I would have loved to have stayed and gained more insight of the court system and also discover more interesting characters for future stories.
Where have you found some of the characters that people your books? Where is your favorite place to people watch?