Tuesday, December 8, 2009

For Truth, For Justice, For 15 Bucks a Day

Today I performed one of the most important civic duties of a citizen, I was a juror. In short I was called to protect the rights and liberties of the litigants in in my county's court. The 20 minute video I was made to watch indicated that I was important and I am what makes this country great. It said a bunch more things but I got a little bored about half way through it.

After all the warm and fuzzies from the video, I performed my civic duty by sitting in a chair watching a movie on my i-touch for about an hour. Interrupting my movie was the first call for jurors for a case. As I sat there repeating my number over and over in my head and crossing my fingers until they turned white, I escaped the first group of 40 or so who were called. I took this movie break to have a look around at my fellow jurors. Apparently a number of people took the recommended attire of "business casual" to mean a camouflage button up paired with semi clean jeans. I then turned my movie back on and settled in for about another hour. At this point the formerly comfy chair could have really used a foot stool accompanying it. Round two came and went without my number being rung and as I thought, "I just might make it out of here", I looked around the room and noticed the number of remaining jurors was looking about at thin as My BMF's hair.

About an hour later another group of 12 or so was due to be called. I crossed my fingers just as tightly as possible and then, I heard it---2nd number called. Instead of the responding with "here" as instructed by the staff I provided a "F*CK, oh, I mean here", to which the gentleman behind me said "My sentiments exactly". I made my way up to the court room with my fellow jurors, stepped inside and took a seat on the benches. Surprisingly, this is the first time I've ever been inside a court room (I know, please take a moment to finish gasping). The judge provided us with more verbal pats on the back and thanked us for being there. She introduced the prosecutor, the defense, and the bailiffs, talked some more "bull spit, bull spit, bull spit", and then said the case that we had been waiting for all day was resolved and we were free at last, free at last.

After today I have some thoughts, and I'd love to provide you with a few....

1. There is nothing 'random' about the selection of jurors. I have been called twice since living in this state. I know at least 15 people who have lived here as long or longer than me and have never been called. I honestly believe they call people and if they show up, they get put on a list of responsible citizens who will actually show up for jury duty. There is no doubt in my mind that I will receive another summons in 366 days.

2. With the high level of unemployment (I believe my county is second in the nation) why don't they just excuse all those people with jobs, who are already contributing. I'm sure there are a hell of a lot of people who would wet themselves for the 15 dollars a day you get paid for jury duty.

3. No matter how old I get I will still get nervous in the presence of authority. I took one step in the court room and was nervous as hell, and I was supposed to be one of the people in the box seats bringing down the judgement on the criminals, not in a lick of trouble, and I found myself feeling nauseous and tearing a bit in my left eye (I know that is a weird reaction to nerves, but well, I'm a little bit weird).

In summation, jury duty is an experience and if you happen to have not been called yet, I will happily take your dl number and provide it to the clerk of court as a viable replacement for me next time around.

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