Home > Uncategorized > Jury Duty – day 1

Jury Duty – day 1

There are probably rules about blogging while on a jury. But I’m not actually on a jury yet. I’m sitting around the courthouse with maybe 200 other lost souls awaiting the wheels of justice to start creaking. We’ve all been told that we may or may not be picked and that we may or may not know in an hour or six hours. So we sit and stare at each other and read jagged paperback books and search in vain for restrooms, which are somewhere around here but seem well hidden.

Gone apparently are the days when everybody just lied to get out of jury duty. There are so many here this morning we’re spilling out into the hallway. All kinds too. Young. Old. Rich. Poor. Flashy jewelry and more tattoos than I can count. Guys in suits and a plethora of John Deere caps. (Poor buggers have already been told they must remove them if they are summoned to a courtroom)

Interesting that there are no African American or Hispanics here. Everybody as white as Julius Caesar.

There’s a tv in the “lounge”, but since the only seats are the kind we all know from grade school…..writing desks that discriminate against lefties….you know the ones…..people are filling up the standard chairs in the hallway.

This whole business seems much more romantic on TV.

We’ve also been told that we are not allowed to leave. Contempt of court awaits anyone who does a runner. Smokers are permitted to get periodic fixes, however. Trips to the bar are discouraged. Smokers always bitching about discrimination. How about guys who want a beer?

The judge came down to give us all a pep talk, which was a nice touch. This being a small town, probably half the people in the room know the guy personally. I’m not sure how this might affect justice. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna know at least a few lawyers too. Being a criminal in this town is tough, as a “jury of your peers” is bound to include drinking buddies of courtroom personages.

The guy sitting next to me is sound asleep. Whatever trial he gets assigned to better not drag. A group of women have changed the tv station and are laughing like hyenas to an episode of “Ellen”. Women love Ellen the way they used to love Oprah. There were some grumbling from a few SportsCenter aficionados, but nobody has the guts for a tv coup. At least not this early in the day. And not against this crew. They seem intense.

We get $9 a day for this, plus 17 cents a mile. Not the distance from our homes but from our local post offices. These amounts were set in the 1950s and in true American style have not been increased since. That’s not to say that jurors don’t have it better in some ways. Used to be if a judge didn’t like a verdict he could toss the jury in jail and starve them. Now we get free coffee. I don’t drink coffee. I have to pay for soda. No drinks are allowed in the courtroom. I’ll deal with this calamity later.

Guy next to me still sleeping. Snoring away. The peppy jury guy just came by saying things were gonna start happening “pretty soon”. I thought about waking my neighbor but will let him doze. He may need his strength for this afternoon. We’ve been here over 2 hours already. The natives are beginning to get restless. A prosecutor’s dream.

As the world turns. Me and 50 others herded together and brought into a courtroom. All the lawyers look 12 years old. We’re being studied like prize livestock. Looking for something in the eye or body language that screams “hang the bastards”, or perhaps “who am I to judge?” It’s all incredibly tedious stuff, as the court tries to weed out the crazies and everybody with ties to law enforcement, which around here is almost impossible. I might be the only person in the room not related to a cop. Still, it’s impressive that there are no shirkers. Plenty of chances to get out of it with an obvious word. But folks seems to be treating it with enormous respect. All want to do the right thing if called. The closer you get to the process the better it looks. It may not be perfect but I really can’t think of a better way. The only true loon is the guy who said he can’t judge another ’cause “that is the job of Jesus.” The judge pointed out that Jesus hasn’t been around in a while so human entities will have to do for now.

And after all of this gibberish I didn’t get picked. One side thought I looked too much like sociopathic avenger and the other thought I veered too close to an unpaid tie-dyed social worker. I tried hard to appear neutral. And I stayed awake. Which is more than I can say about the guy next to me.

And I have to report and do it all over again tomorrow.

Probably a good thing I didn’t get picked. That guy was guilty as hell. I could just tell.

In a bit….

–tf

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    October 16, 2013 at 10:37 am

    hang em high
    also very few blacks and hispanics in NEPA

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