What If...

My group of seventy-five jurors was called into a courtroom at 11:15 a.m.  We sat and were given the required lengthy speech about jury service.  The attorneys and defendants were introduced.  We were then handed the jury questionnaire.  By then it was noon.

The judge went through the first two pages of questions one at a time.  People who answered 'yes' to any question were asked to stand and give their names to the judge.  He made a note of each.  A dozen questions later, 40 people had stood up and it was 12:30.

Then he brought every person who had answered 'yes' to any question up to the bench one at a time to talk about their concerns.  It was nearly 2 p.m. when we were sent to lunch.

The second item on the questionnaire had to do with whether there were any medical, financial or personal problems which would prevent you from serving.  With that question came a sentence about the Americans With Disabilities Act under which many accommodations could be provided as needed. Nearly three hours of hungry boredom gave me plenty of time to consider possibilities.

If I had Type 1 diabetes and part of my personal management plan was to eat at approximately the same time every day, I would have needed an accommodation 45 minutes into what was turning into a nearly 3 hour affair.  What would I have done?  Stood up and asked to approach the bench? Tried to eat something without anyone noticing?  Sat there and hoped an emergency didn't develop?

What would happen if a person with diabetes experienced a significant low during testimony and needed a few minutes to regain the power of concentration?  What questions would be raised about someone repeatedly looking at electronic (diabetes) devices throughout the trial?  Would the beeping of devices and glucometers prove to be a distraction?

With a Supreme Court justice who must occasionally need to munch glucose tabs during a hearing, I'm certain diabetes isn't a barrier to jury service.  It's more of a question of when and how a potential juror would disclose the concern.  And of what specific information would need to be shared with the presiding judge.

All I can tell you is that if I were that person who'd been sitting there anxious about when or whether I'd get lunch before my blood sugar crashed, I would have been extra upset when we returned from lunch to learn that the morning's process had been all to find only one more person to fill an almost-complete jury.  Even I, being merely hungry and bored, was somewhat irritated that people were not dismissed more efficiently in this situation.

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