When you are called for jury duty, you can expect long hours of waiting to be selected or not selected. If you are into crocheting, maybe you are thinking of doing your crochet project to pass the time. But can you really crochet during jury duty?
Most courthouses prohibit crochet hooks and scissors, which are the primary tools you will be needing to crochet. However, some people who were summoned for jury duty claimed that they were able to crochet while on jury duty. Other crafters suggest that you bring a wooden or plastic crochet hook because everyone who enters the courthouse is required to pass through a metal detector. It would be best to call the courthouse first or check their website for prohibited items and check if crochet items are allowed, just to be sure.
Items that can be used as a weapon, such as pointed items, are generally prohibited. The prohibited items vary from courthouse to courthouse.
Common Items Prohibited during Jury Duty
As you come to the courthouse, you will be screened and are required to pass through a metal detector. Prohibited items are surrendered outside the courthouse and you are able to get a hold of them when you are not inside the courthouse.
Although the prohibited items vary from courthouse to courthouse, here are some common items that are not permitted.
- Knives, guns or any other weapons of any kind
- Items with any type of blade
- Silverware (bring plastic instead)
- Heavy metal belt buckles
- Scissors of all sizes
- Crochet hooks
- Knitting needles
- Acids, combustible liquids, corrosives, fireworks, or radioactive items
- Non-prescription drugs
- Alcoholic beverages
- Construction tools
- Devices utilized for physical restraint
- Disguises or masks
- Banners or signs with pipes or sticks
- Hair spray or other chemical agents
- Recording devices
- Video games
- Stereo faceplates
- Pepper spray
- Food and drink
Acceptable Items but with Limitations
- Open beverages (you’ll be required to drink while you are at security before you enter the courthouse. Factory sealed beverages are allowed.
- Prescription drugs (should be in the prescription bottle with the name of the juror on the label)
- Medically required canes, however, they will be scanned for security.
- A laptop is allowed if you’re doing research in the Clerk’s office.
- Cellphones and Pagers are allowed if turned off or set to vibrate.
- Reading materials and electronic devices for personal use. When listening to music or watching videos, headphones must be used in the assembly areas.
- Jurors are allowed to bring and eat in the jury assembly areas but not in the courtrooms.
Why are Crochet Hooks Prohibited?
Crochet hooks can be used as a weapon. That is why they are prohibited in the courthouse.
The following are not allowed inside the courtroom:
- Capri pants
- Bedroom slippers, Flip Flops, or bare feet
- Exposed underwear, stomachs, midriffs, or buttocks
- Halter tops
- Short skirts
- Clothing displaying violent, offensive, suggestive, or obscene slogans or caricatures
- Trousers, jeans or slacks that can only be supported by the hands of the wearer.
- Strapless tops
- Spaghetti straps
- Tank tops
- Food and drinks are only allowed in particular areas.
- Anyone who enters the courtroom dressed improperly or who misbehaves will be sent away until they are appropriately attired, or may be found in contempt and subjected to a fine, incarceration, or both.
- Only the children involved in a case are allowed in the court. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted inside the courtroom.
- No smoking in the courthouse.
Things You Can Do to Survive Jury Duty
Being summoned for jury duty can be somewhat tiresome, and you want to be well-prepared when you walk into the courthouse.
If crochet during jury duty is not allowed, there are other things you can do to prevent yourself from getting bored while waiting.
Bring Food from Home
It is going to be a long day, and you are probably going to spend plenty of time outside the courtroom. The day will be long and you will go hungry even before the official lunch break. You can bring snacks or lunch to be safe. There are usually limited places where you can get lunch during break time. This is especially hard if you have special dietary concerns or a picky eater. You have to bring enough food to last you through the day.
Courthouses usually don’t have a refrigerator or microwave, so bring food that won’t require refrigeration or heating. You can also bring foods with high protein content to keep your energy up.
Bring Entertainment with You
In the courthouse, you will not be able to read your book or use your tablet all the time. However, you will have plenty of time waiting outside the courtroom. You can use the waiting time to watch a movie, read, or listen to music.
If you plan to watch a movie or listen to music, make sure to use headphones. Several courts offer wireless internet, either for a fee or for free. This is great if you want to catch up on work, emails, and social media. However, the Wi-Fi the courthouse provides might not support streaming, so you have to download videos at home so you can watch them.
Bring Cash with You
Some eating establishments in or around the courthouse accept cash only. Make sure you bring cash with you. Some courts will provide you money to cover lunch expenses.
You can check their website for information regarding their dress code. Most of them have guidelines but don’t apply a strict dress code. However, you will be expected to dress in business casual attire. You might want to bring a jacket because courthouses are usually air-conditioned.
Wear something comfortable, as well, because you will probably sit for long hours.
Take Public Transportation
Taking public transportation may be easier than bringing your own vehicle. Many courthouses in the urban area are in places where parking is expensive or difficult.
Take Time to Research the Neighborhood Around the Courthouse
This will be a big help for you to avoid being late in the event you can’t find parking and plan on how you will spend your lunch break. There may be areas in the neighborhood where you can eat that you have not heard of. There may also be a nice plaza or park where you can enjoy your lunch when the weather is nice. Stretching your legs after sitting in the courtroom for hours would be good.
Have a Chat with Your Fellow Jurors
People from the jury come from all walks of life. You will meet people you’d never talk to in normal circumstances. Be friendly with your fellow jurors, however, avoid politics-related topics and sensitive ones that could be relevant to the case.
Ask Someone from the Courthouse if There is a Quiet Lounge or Room
You might want to do your reading somewhere quiet, so ask if there is a separate room for that.
Accept Being a Part of the Jury
Some people really don’t like the idea of being a part of the jury. The best way to survive jury duty is to accept being on it. Never try to get out by exaggerating or lying about the difficulties it will cause you. If you are underemployed or unemployed, you may be making more money by being on the jury.
Take Care of Yourself
Being in the jury, you will probably sit for long periods. This can make you bored, uncomfortable, and fatigued. You have to take advantage of breaks in between. Eat and rest if you must. Keep yourself comfortable as well. You can take a short walk outside and stretch your legs.
If you are a member of the jury for something that hits close to home or for a violent crime, it can be emotionally intense. It can even trigger past traumas for some people. Do what you have to do to be emotionally ready being on a jury.
If the case is triggering you personally, tell the judge or the attorneys. You may be excused for this reason. You can also learn meditation and grounding techniques that you can use every day, or even after the trial is over. Some districts also offer counseling services for members of the jury after trial.
Engage Yourself with the Judicial Process
Several people who were a part of the jury ended up learning quite a lot about the judicial process. You’ll be surprised that misconceptions about the judicial system being boring are not true. The cases are actually interesting and you may learn a lot of things about it that you weren’t aware of.
Bear in mind that you have to listen carefully to the judge’s instructions given to you. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. When they show educational videos to you, pay close attention. They are meant to be informative.
Crochet is the only hobby I am comfortable with; if hooks and scissors are not allowed, what can I do?
There is a method called finger crochet. With this method, you will use your fingers instead of hooks. Thick yarn is recommended for this method, so you can do a scarf or a blanket.
Jury duty can be stressful, that’s why you need something that can make you relaxed while you are waiting in the courthouse. If crocheting is not allowed, you can think of other ways to help you survive jury duty. You have to be prepared physically and emotionally, as well.