Adventures in Jury Duty

My phone is playing that all too familiar “alarm” sound but it’s only 6:30am. What gives? Oh yes – Today is the day I fulfill my civic duty and pay a visit to the county court. Despite being called several times over the last few years, I’d managed to avoid jury duty using many clever, Navy Seal-like evasive tactics. However, I was finally held down to a date by Maryanne, the county clerk and skilled brain-ninja. It was a good run but now, I finally had to go. This is what you get for being a registered voter…

After arriving at the courthouse and going through a security checkpoint that would make the FAA envious, I am told to sit in a 1000sq foot room with all the other jurors. Suddenly, that sickly feeling comes over me – you know, similar to the one you get in a doctor’s waiting room or in an airport smoking lounge – where you’re afraid to breath? When was my last tetanus shot? The plastic folding chairs were so unbelievably close together it was like having 100 people in my personal space. Add a temperature of around 85 degrees, give the room a powerful morning breath/old lady perfume scent, add 10 or so people coughing during H1N1 Flu season and you could imagine my delight. And we’re not talking sniffling and throat clearing – we’re talking the kind of coughs you only hear in a cancer ward. I was squeezed in between a 150yr old woman and a man who looked like a smelly Salman Rushdie. That being said, Salman Rushdie looks like he might smell a bit funky.

Anyway, a woman comes out and with a tired, monotone voice and a lazy eye, recites the responsibilities and duties of a juror as she probably has a thousand times. Soon after, the lights are dimmed and we are subjected to a 70’s era government commissioned video about jury duty.– haircuts never lie. I couldn’t take it anymore and strolled out of the room where the clerk informed me I had to go back and watch the video. “It’s like a Petri dish in there – are you crazy? Plus, I watch lots of TV – I’ve got the court thing down.” She repeated the order completely not amused and I wasn’t going to argue with the 90 year old woman. After all, she had a cane and she looked pissed.

After the end of the video, we’re given further information, the most relevant of which is that no matter whether we’re chosen to serve on a case or not, we’ll be stuck there until 4:30pm. Damn, I should have brought my computer or a book – at the very least, some recreational drugs… This was going to be a long day.

People start getting called for various cases but I luckily escape the first roll call. Reverend Run of Run DMC is not so lucky – he’s called for the first case. Yes, Rev. Run was coincidentally in the same jury group. He was sitting in the corner with his driver/bodyguard fiercely attacking his Blackberry. I assume he was probably more annoyed than I was. Surprisingly, a lot of people present were not angry to be there. Quite the contrary. These people wanted to be there! It’s paid days off of work – if you hate your job THAT much, jury duty might seem like vacation. I’d say 20% of the people were forced to be there – another 60% couldn’t muster the brain power to come up with a decent excuse, and the last 20% were pleased to be there. These are the people that end up on most juries – that remaining 20%. These are the folks that make up a “jury of our peers” – peers? What? You should have seen the characters in this little room. These are the people who decide who is guilty or innocent? – the people we trust with out lives? I wouldn’t trust most of these idiots with a golf club and a set of Crest WhiteStrips… and at that very moment that I was thinking this thought, I glanced to my left just in time to see Salman Rushdie dig deep into his nose, pick himself a winner, and quickly shovel it into his mouth… Really? Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me?

I spent the rest of my time there in the hallway – told the clerk I’d be right by the door if she needs me but I’m not sitting in there anymore and if she has a problem with that she can have me arrested. Luckily, she didn’t take me up on that offer. Soon after, everyone is released to walk around a bit. It was now 11:05. I figured, if I’m stuck here, I might as well pass the time and talk to some of the “normal” people. They were the ones who looked annoyed. I discussed finance with a business school student, music with a DJ, handgun bullet trajectory with one of the guards, and health reform with an idiot. Looked at my watch – Fack… 11:17!!!

It was after 1pm before I got called to be a juror in a case. Although I can’t discuss it, I would like to say that the prison issue shoes worn by the convicts in orange jumpsuits do look extremely comfortable. The ankle chains, not so much but the shoes looked soft.

It was gonna be a week long trial and I wanted no part of it. So this was my time to come up with a great excuse as to why I am unable to serve as juror. I paid attention to every detail the judge told us about the case. I even took notes on things I could say about the prosecutor, the defendant, the crime… I was ready to be convincingly full of shit! I could do it – I could act. I played the dentist in my high school production of “Little Shop Of Horrors” for god sakes. This should be a walk in the park. I was ready. The judge called me up to be seated. His honor asked his first question – if it would be an inconvenience for me to participate in this trial. I responded, “Well, yeah. I’m kind of busy.” “Ok”, he responded… “You’re dismissed.” That was it… go figure.

5 Responses to “Adventures in Jury Duty”

  1. Shawn Otani says:

    I need some advice for my blog….I like your layout. Can you help me?

  2. Erline Hamer says:

    Many people like to know when they comment that someone is listening. The way to let them know that there is someone behind the computer screen who cares what they say is to respond when they say something.

  3. admin says:

    I don’t know much about these things… Had a web developer make mine. All I know is it’s Wordpress based and really easy for me to use.

  4. admin says:

    Sorry for the late reply. I just got control of my website from the web developer so I’m just figuring out how to use it. I am here… I am listening :)

  5. Tiberiu says:

    Very well written post. Regards

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