Jurors get a room with a (great) view
If you get a summons in the mail to show up for jury service, don’t despair.
When you arrive at the jury assembly room, you’ll have more amenities than you imagined.
The room on the third floor of the new Durham County Courthouse is where prospective jurors wait to be called for trial.
They might not be seated on a case, but if they’re kept waiting in the room all day, they can go home, and won’t be called for jury duty for at least two years.
While they wait, they have plenty to enjoy:
- Six wide-screen televisions.
- Internet connections.
- Wood-paneled lockers.
- Free coffee.
- A view of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
In other words, boredom is less likely than in the old courthouse, which was smaller, darker and less welcoming.
But that’s how it should be in a building that cost Durham taxpayers $119 million.
The clerk who supervises the jury assembly room and the hundreds of citizens who come through it in a typical week is Lorrine Sands, who takes pride in making the experience positive for everyone.
“While they’re waiting, we want them to be comfortable,” Sands said.
The televisions are tuned to a news channel, but for those who want to read quietly, another part of the room offers that.
There are restrooms, snack machines, a microwave, refrigerator, card tables and comfortable seating.
Huge windows offer a view for miles, including a partially obstructed view of the ballpark. When the Bulls play a day game, jurors have another source of entertainment.
Sands, who supervised the jury room in the old courthouse, loves the change.
“The word has gotten out that [jury duty] is not as bad as it sounds,” she said. “The atmosphere is lighter and more relaxed, and there’s less stress. People are happier here.”