Trial's over in one day, although it took us a bit past 4 PM. More on that later.

First I'll post info that may help future jurors, but I don't know whether some of what I've experienced is court policy or just for our particular judge. Your experience may vary.

I'm not naming names. If you actually work at the First Circuit Court and you want to discuss my comments in more detail then please send me an e-mail. (If you're on my "Ignore Poster" list then I won't receive your PM.) If my comments piss you off, then that's just tough-- you probably managed to piss me off first, you had a chance to explain yourself to me directly, and you earned this posts's comments by your actions or by your lack thereof. You don't have to explain "policy" or "efficiency" to me because I'm posting this from the perspective of a juror who just wants to be treated like a human instead of a pool number. If you don't want to piss off prospective jurors then you'll have to change the way you do business. But it probably functions marginally enough to avoid mandating change.

The Ka'ahumanu Hale (777 Punchbowl, by Restaurant Row) doesn't even unlock the public doors before 7:45 AM. It's easier to show up at 7:55 or even 8 AM to trail the crowd. You won't miss anything, although showing up much later risks missing the first muster in the jury pool room.

Backpacks & bags go through a scanner. Bodies go through a metal detector. Laptops & iPods are permitted in the building. The jury pool's phone # is on the website ( The number to reach a human at the Ka'ahumanu Hale is 539-4360. For now anyway.

The juror voicemail works well. The summons (and the website) suggest calling it after 5 PM, but it's updated as soon as they have something to say. If you call earlier then you may get an earlier update. One voicemail may cover several different jury pools, so have your pool number handy. Our trial was delayed for three days (don't know why) but the voicemail kept us informed.

The jury pool is in the first room on the left after the scanner. Free coffee & private bathrooms in the back. There's enough room in the bathrooms to change clothes from outdoor shorts & tank tops to warm pants & shirts. The pool room has lots of reading material, cable TV, kaukau shop next door. Free (local) phone calls for those without cell phones. The coffee is good but you may wish to bring your own food or else pay expensive (Restaurant Row) retail prices.

The jury pool's bureaucracy makes the military look pretty good by comparison. For people who do this as a living, you'd think they'd change a few practices. But I doubt that they've ever been forced to serve on a jury, so maybe they're blissfully ignorant. There may also be hard legal lessons learned, or perhaps they're aimed at the lowest common denominator of prospective jurors. I would never want to be a professional juror.

After hanging around the jury pool room for a few hours I noticed a steady trickle of jurors at the office window with parking problems. Let's just say that parking is so limited, and the rules are so complicated, that it's easy to screw up. It's far better to take the bus or even a cab than to try to park in that area. Even if you think you understand the parking FAQs it's better to eyeball the situation on a weekday (when you have time) than to try to figure it out on Monday morning. I had no trouble with the express buses.

The first action upon entering the jury pool room is picking up a pencil and a laminated mileage chart. They give you the data and the tool to enter your mileage on your summons (you're compensated 33 cents/mile). Around 8 AM we were mustered and then we filled out the mileage on our summons. We turned in our summons and I haven't seen it since, so if you wanted any of the information on it (the court phone number or the handy street map) then you should make a copy before going to the court.

Next we watched the video-- the same video that's on the website, so don't bother watching the website video. Hold onto your curiosity until court day and enjoy 20 more minutes of your life before jury duty.

The clerk in the jury pool room would've benefited from a script. She seemed to have some notes, and she seemed to know what she needed to explain, but words failed her several times. She seemed to be visibly struggling to avoid speaking pidgin, yet if she'd used more pidgin then things would've moved a lot faster. She had trouble answering questions. By the time she was done her "brief" felt like a badly dubbed foreign film, and you wanted subtitles.

Each jury pool seems to be assigned to a judge's court. The next person to show up in the pool room introduced herself as an "extern" for our judge. (Hey, "intern" would've communicated what we needed to know, but we were surrounded by legal experts.) The first thing she did was to take her own muster, perhaps in case one of us sneaked out after the video. Then she explained a few things about the judge's courtroom and told us to regroup outside his courtroom where we... took another muster. (You military veterans and kindergarten graduates can see how the rest of the day goes.) We were also lined up in alphabetical order and left standing there for several minutes while she checked whether the courtroom was ready for our appearance. Unless the court likes practicing the muster process, we could skip the first two musters and just work from our summons. Or, golly, we could just all go sit in the courtroom and let them muster us when we're needed. Perhaps this staging outside the courtroom makes business go faster inside, but I'm skeptical.