Wordle, Quordle and Jury Duty

12 Apr

I recently finished four days with 12 total strangers.  We were chosen to serve on a jury panel for a civil case involving wrongful death in a nursing home.  We, the twelve jurors and one alternative, were instructed that when we were in the room together, or outside, or anywhere, we could not speak about the case at all until deliberations.  We were not to go online to look up any information about the case.  We could only rely on our own knowledge and background.  We could not speak to anyone involved on the other side even to say hello.  These were the rules we had to follow.

To be honest, I could not believe that I would be selected. I answered everything honestly. Yes I volunteered in an elder care facility. Yes I was a spiritual care volunteer. Yes, I have helped someone in hospice. Yes I had a medical professional in my family, my husband is a physician. Each time I was sure that was it. I would be struck from the jury. Another man, who actually worked as a social worker in nursing homes and knew this particular facility, was also seated on the jury. Before it started, I turned to him, as we were seated next to each other, and said, I cannot believe that they kept you. But they kept both of us.

The first day in the jury room, we each found a seat around a table with just 13 chairs.  That became our seat for the duration of the trial.  We had to line up in numerical order each time we left the jury room and went into the courtroom. It was just like on television.  Everyone in the court would be standing and waiting for us to reach our seats.  Then the announcement that we could now be seated.

Next to me in the jury room sat Juror 9.  She and I discovered that we both enjoyed playing Wordle and Quordle.  It gave us something we could talk about, our conversation each day was about how we were doing with these and other word games.  It helped.  

Two men, Juror 2 and the one eventually elected our Foreman, also played Wordle.  Our conversation grew to include them each morning.  They had never played Quordle.  To help them out, I told them where to find Quordle and little about how it was played.  Juror 9 chimed in that you can solve them in any order.  Which I had not known…. But now I do.

The four of us spent our morning breaks finishing our Wordles and Quordles.  It was a great way to spend time and to talk about something that was allowed. Others stayed silent, snacked, read, and just waited.

On the third day, when the Foreman turned to me and said,  “The Best part of doing jury duty was finding out about Quordle,” I felt a feeling of satisfaction.  We were bonding over the game.

But to be honest, we did not bond enough.  The three of them voted differently than I did.  We only needed 10 votes to decide.  Ten voted for the defense, two of us for the plaintiff. 

In my mind, I believe they were wrong.  But then they did not have my particular knowledge about elder care facilities and doctors.  It was sad for me because I believe every person has the right to die with dignity.  No one, even someone with dementia who is going to die, should die soon after several falls leading to a broken arm, a concussion, and stitches while in the care of a nursing home. The images we saw and the information I learned truly haunts me.

After the trial, the judge came back to speak to us. He told us that the family was gone, but the lawyers wanted to know why we voted as we did. He said it was important learning experience. Nine of us went. The other yes vote and I sat together.

First they allowed us to ask them questions. As the information came forth, I could see that others who voted No, were beginning to see what the other juror and I saw. For example, one juror voted No because the plaintiffs attorney did not show that the nursing home had a history of negligence. I had said they can’t do that. He asked the plaintiff’s attorney if there was other negligence and if yes, why hadn’t he told us.. The lawyer’s answer, there were 59 pages of citations, but he was not allowed to enter them. That juror’s face fell.

Then the lawyers could ask us questions. The defense attorney turned to me and said, “YOU, YOU voted yes. I knew I should have struck you from the jury.” I agreed with him, yes he should have struck me. Then I gave him my five reasons for believing that it was wrongful death and malpractice. I said, this is how I saw it, the majority did not. But I did what I could.

However, no matter how disappointed I was with the outcome, I did my duty as a juror, and it is time to move on.  For me it was four days that I will not easily forget.  I can at least feel good about the word games.

9 Responses to “Wordle, Quordle and Jury Duty”

  1. Amy April 12, 2022 at 4:04 pm #

    Thank you for doing your civic duty. As a lawyer and law professor, I’ve always wanted to be on a jury myself, but have never had the opportunity.

    I know Wordle, but what is Quordle??

    • zicharon April 12, 2022 at 4:19 pm #

      Quordle is four words at once. Quordle.com.

      • Amy April 12, 2022 at 4:33 pm #

        I will check it out.

      • zicharon April 12, 2022 at 4:40 pm #

        It is fun. And really makes You use your brain.

    • zicharon April 12, 2022 at 4:19 pm #

      My sister said the same thing. As an attorney she was always dismissed from jury duty.

  2. Sharon April 12, 2022 at 4:44 pm #

    This was so interesting to read. I have never been selected for jury duty. Only called 2x in my life and not selected the first time, the next excused. I have worked as a recreation therapy asst for many years in a nursing home and unfortunatley have seen many things I shouldn’t have. (feeling obligated to encourage residents to file complaints) It’s really a very serious and sad situation

    • zicharon April 12, 2022 at 5:13 pm #

      It is horrible. They started giving her drugs the end of august. She fell three times in 10 days. Sept 1 she was physically fine, she had dementia. On Oct 3 she was dead. Horrible!!!

      • Sharon April 16, 2022 at 3:52 pm #

        quite some time ago, my father was in a nursing home, Del Rey Beach, Fl, very early dementia, my mother had just had hip replacement surgery. He had a fall out of bed and was injured. I flew in from WA state, 1 visit to see him, no need for the details and I had him discharged to home and hired a 24/7 home caregiver for him. I had home care for both my parents and both passed at home.

      • zicharon April 16, 2022 at 4:00 pm #

        In my opinion that is the best way to go, or to find a place where they convert a private home to care for about six people on a personal level. We have that here in a company called Care Haven. It is very good.

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