|In Communist Russia, Defendent finds YOU! (and shoots you. because he's part of the russian mafia.)
||[Jun. 16th, 2008|01:01 pm]
Today, for the first time ever, I had to report for jury duty. I've been called before, but I was a student and able to get out of it. Not that I necessarily wanted to. But for some reason, I did. Anyhow, I was looking forward to it this time. I had to be at the courthouse downtown at 8:30am, which is obscene. Since there's no real parking to be had, I parked near the Dog n' Duck pub. I had a beautiful plan to put in a hard day's juroring, and then go knock back a pint. But alas, it was not to be.
I walked about 6 big blocks to the courthouse. The first shock was that the big doors at the top of the fancy steps are kept permanently locked, and you have to enter through the ground level entrances. Sad, and symbolic of something, I'm sure. The reason quickly became apparent. There's a security station, much like an airport's. You put your belongings through the conveyor-belt scanner, and walk through the metal detector. Fun and exciting.
I went up to the second floor and checked in. Two ladies sat at tables and handed out forms to jurors. The form basically just asked if I wanted to receive my pay for the day ($6, I think), or if I wanted to donate it to a charity. I chose to donate it to the Children's Welfare Fund, I think. I brought the form back and was given an orange, laminated, numbered card. I was to be juror number 18 in court number 2, presided over by Judge Sherman. There was a lack of seating, so I crouched in a corner, and took turns playing a jewel-based game on my iphone, and listening to the audiobook version of George RR Martin's "A Storm of Swords".
After 30 minutes or so, Judge Sherman came out. He was extremely friendly and passionate about the justice system. He explained briefly that we were still waiting on 1 juror who'd overslept, and that it happens all the time. He then encouraged us to not lose heart, and went on to explain how fervantly he believed in the jury system, and that if he could only keep 1 right, it would be the right to a trial by jury. "In the recent words of a personal hero," he said, "What a Country!" Recent? What's Yakov Smirnoff been up to lately?
We waited for about 10 more minutes for our erstwhile juror, and then Judge Sherman came out again. He told us that he had what might be bad news for some, and good news for others. The case had been settled. "As so often happens, once the defendent walks down the hall and sees the smiling faces of you fine people ready to sit in judgement, he chooses to settle." He then once again asked us to not lose heart, and insisted that the jury system was vital, important, and worked wll. He left with "I'll repeat. 'What a Country!'" Words worth repeating.
We then returned our laminated index cards to the table and were informed that if we got a parking ticket for an expired meter, we could have it excused. Good to know for the future!
So I walked back to the car, and it was still earlier than I normally get up for work. I briefly considered taking the day off, since my boss and co-workers knew I'd be gone for jury duty, but decided against it. I did go to Fry's, though, for no particular reason.
All in all, I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get to go through more of the process. I suppose I'll get my chance one day.