On Monday, the 30th of October, I had me some jury duty. Finally. Dude, I've been watching courtroom drama movies for like, 15 years now, and I finally get to go in for some jury duty. Of course, I was massively let down. Yes, of course it's the "best system in the world." It still sucks. Man, there's a lot of waiting. Like Soviet waiting. A lot.
I drove downtown and parked. Got on a trolley. Waited for it to leave. Got to the County building, went through security, checked in and waited in a room filled with three hundred people long enough for me to read nearly two hundred pages of text. At last, my group of 47 was called at about 10:30 to Courtroom 405, Judge Nobles presiding. Over the next several hours (after being assigned Juror #37 in the juror pool, or panel) I managed to accidentally talk my way out of being chosen for three separate cases. See, I had several people give me tips on how to talk my way out of this. I ignored this advice, because this was something I actually wanted to do. At least, I wanted to do it more than my job. My boss needn't have worried, however, because my natural personality got me unpicked better than anything I could have faked.
First case was a battery case, apparently involving a six-month pregnant woman. So many people raised their hands and said that they would not be impartial, that they asked those of us who did not raise our hands why we did not. My answer? "There's what's right and there's what's legal, and you're asking if we can set aside our emotions and make a judgment based purely on what is legal as explained to us...and I can do that in this case." As I realized later, the clear inference here is: "no matter what the law says, this guy's wrong." So - shot myself in the foot on that one. After waiting for selections, they picked seven not-mes.
Second case was a possession case, and the million-dollar question here was: "Do you think it should be against the law to use marijuana or cocaine in your home, while not giving it to anyone else?" Poorly phrased? Sure. How did I answer? You know already, don't you? One more jury I'm not on. Had to wait some more to find out, but not on it, nonetheless. Pass the bread.
By the time we got to the third case of burglary and grand theft, I think I had guaranteed my non-status as a juror. I didn't get asked anything, and the attorney on that one had been there throughout the first two voir dires, so he knew me by then. They made me wait a solid, unyielding, I-had-already-finished-my-damn-book hour and fifteen minutes to not pick me that time. Then we all got sent down to the 2nd floor, where we waited ten minutes to be told we could leave. I had to wait for the fucking trolley again on the way to my car.
What do you do whilst you're waiting like that? There are 20 sprinkler heads in Courtroom 405, and 360 ceiling tiles. There are four doors but only two authorized exits, and seventeen speakers with eight microphones. Three video cameras. One of the jurors in the pool was named James Taylor, while another was called Jack McGee. Six of the jurors had religious reading material, including Left Behind and Campolo. There was some representative James Patterson, and one guy was reading Don Quixote.
Mostly though, you get questions stuck in your head you can't get rid of until you pose them to the blog-reading public: Do the most important things in life get said in whispers or speeches?
I wanna know what you think, 737-ROCK, 737-ROLL.