Fredericton — Calling it “the new lottery,” several New Brunswick residents are crossing their fingers that they’ll soon be chosen for jury duty so that they can finally be almost, sort of employed.
“It pays quite a bit less than minimum wage — it’s around 40 bucks a day for however long the trial lasts, but I can’t even remember what having that kind of money is like,” said Burton man Ronnie Allen, as he waited in the Fredericton courthouse hoping for his number to be called. “The holy grail of jury duties are trials that go on forever, like the Oland one a few months ago. I could probably claim those hours and then get E.I. all winter — wouldn’t that be nice!”
Debbie Simpson, 54, of Chipman, said it’s just nice to feel needed, especially since her children left home for university. “Since the kids went to school, I’ve had very little to do, and I have no real income,” she explained. “Last time I got jury duty, I earned some decent cash, and got a lot of knitting done. And it’s just good to be part of a team.”
Some New Brunswickers believe that the only thing better than being selected for jury duty is being the one on trial.
“Think about it — you stand a decent chance of being put in jail, where your heat, lights, Internet and rent are all totally free,” said Fredericton man Devon McManis. “Not to mention meals, scheduled workout times, movie nights — it’d be the life!
“When it comes to being on the jury, though, I don’t care if they’re guilty or if they’re innocent — I just pick whichever the others aren’t picking to make the deliberations last longer. I saw it in a Simpsons episode,” he said, unknowingly referring to a 12 Angry Men parody.
Saint John native Colin Wright said that, to his surprise and delight, he received a jury summons in the mail last week. “I saw it was from the sheriff’s office, so at first I thought they musta caught me on camera stealing from Walmart or dealing dope or something. But then I saw it was a jury summons! Fingers crossed… I stand to make a lot of money!”