Jury duty. blessedly, minus Pauly Shore…

2:06 pm June 10, 2009 at 2:06 pm Leave a comment

so, I got a letter last week saying that I was to be available for jury duty this week. I was ok with it, I mean, we’ve all got our civic responsibility, and whatnot. I just, if I could have chosen, would not have it this week. still, though, I talked to my mom about it, and she said she’d never actually been selected to sit in on a jury, and that most of the time the trials were dismissed before she ever had to show up. of course, yesterday I called the jury line and the automated recording said that jurors were needed today at 9am. and, when I was talking to a coworker, she told a story about how when she was 19 she had to sit on a jury and it was horrific. also, she almost got held in contempt of court for being late. “Jules,” she said, “lie to them. you’re remarkably normal, they love that. tell them something they really don’t want to hear.”

anyway, this morning, after going to the wrong courthouse at first, I arrived, right at 9am. (I’ll allow a moment here for you all to catch your breath. I know.)

so, we hand in our questionnaires about, y’know… who we are, where we live, who we live with, etc. and then we go sit in a room and wait. there are, I think, 15 of us at this point, and I’m thinking, “a jury has 12 members, right, so only 3 of us get to go home??” well, we all get called in for selection (no one has even spoken to us directly til now) and we file in and sit down… then they just start calling names and of course, I’m picked. here’s the thing, though: I’m a terrible liar. terrible. if I were to say that I was somehow biased, they’d ask me to elaborate, and I’d be screwed, and then I’d probably be in trouble. besides, I figure, I’m a pretty fair person. maybe it’ll be good that I’m on the jury. also? there are only 6 of us?! the whole time today, I was like, “but… 12 Angry Men? Jury Duty? To Kill a Mockingbird??! I… don’t… get it?” anyway, yes. only 6.

then there’s a list of questions they ask to make sure no one needs to be excused. one person is excused because the defendant’s lawyer’s represented her before. another is excused because she doesn’t feel she can be impartial, with a pretty valid & emotional explanation attached.

the case is this (simplified): a guy got caught soliciting sex in an undercover police operation. he admits to the conversation, even talking monetary amounts and offering to trade drugs as well as money, but he claims that he never intended to go through with it, and was just saying “ok” to get her to leave him alone.

we unanimously voted guilty, based on the evidence. frankly, even though I have not the slightest doubt that it was the right decision to make, it was a little heartbreaking for me. I don’t like to judge people harshly, and I know we all make mistakes, and the guy’s married (which is, I’m guessing, why this ever even came to trial) but I couldn’t in good conscience say he wasn’t guilty, when presented with the evidence. absolutely, beyond reasonable doubt. *sigh*

the funniest part was when we had deliberated & had the verdict, we went to give it & everyone had gone to lunch. so we had to wait, like, 15 minutes to find someone to let them know we were ready.

the worst part was after we left, when I was talking to the clerk about submitting for a dismissal on a ticket I got a week & a half ago… the guy and his wife came out of the courtroom, and she was pissed. he didn’t look at me. but she yelled about injustice and swore about undercover operations. the clerk said, “look, if you’re a married man and a pretty lady starts talking to you about sex, point to your ring & take off. and she should be mad at HIM, not at the police.” that pretty much covers how I feel about the situation.

at least it was quick. and there was tea in the deliberation room. and, presumably, I won’t have to do it again for a long time? I don’t really know the rules there, actually.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

on my procrastination, fighting writer’s block, and other things… these are days…

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