Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Duty Discharged

What an anticlimax. Got to the courthouse, spiffy in Bidness Casual. Went through the security checkpoint, setting off a metal-detector with my new bionic hip -- a new experience for me. Ankled up to the Jury Waiting Room, registered, got a badge. A woman gives a lecture -- no talking about the trial, even with fellow jurors, lunch is at noon, yadda yadda. They call out the jurors in alphabetical order; my meatspace surname is deep in the alphabet, so I'm not called. The first half of the alphabet troops out of the room, presumably for voir-dire, or perhaps it was estoppel, or tenure by serjaunty -- anyway, one of those comical Medieval French terms those lawyer johnnies throw around to earn the big bucks.

The rest of us, we superior souls with the good taste and discretion to have surnames beginning with N-Z, wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Two hours, we wait. Periodically, the woman in charge pops her head in to assure us we haven't been forgotten. Just a little while longer, thanks for your patience.

Then, at 10:30, she pops in again. The trial we'd been awaiting has been postponed. We are free to go, and our jury-duty obligations have been discharged, and we're regular citizens again.

Ah, well. Better than a day at the coal-face.

16 comments:

Robert M said...

I don't know. I seem to get picked every time...and as much as I would like to NOT convict people..sadly all the ones I've sat on we found guilty. One occasionally fantasizes they might sit on the '12 Angry Men' jury and be the one that turns the redneck jury, thus saving an innocent man's life. Unfortunately both were drug cases and although I'm a lifelong member of NORML, there was just no way to get around the facts...and believe me, I was looking for something (cop finds crack in your pants you forgot about.....in a well known (at least to me) drug area- case #1
.......wannabe gangsta robs pot dealer- case #2). It's one's duty to serve on juries but mostly...it SUCKS!

SecurityAnalyst said...

Oops....... you know- I didn't see the previous post(that's what happens from smoking pot for 38 years). All kidding aside, the court system is in desperate need of intelligent people on juries to counterbalance the crazies. I look at it as the same way I do accidents, it may be gross or stomach-turning but sometimes someone has got to pull the victim (in this case lady liberty) from the car wreck before the whole damn thing catches on fire.

Neddie said...

Well, fukkit. I tried, I showed up. My last name starts with S, and so I couldn't pull any bodies from the wreck.

Glad you recognized that it was kidding, SA. Not everybody did.

securityanalyst said...

re; Glad you recognized that it was kidding, SA. Not everybody did.

Normally, I try to stay away from the "comments section" as much as possible on some sites because the comments can hurt people. Sometimes, great authors like Arthur Silber get hurt by persons that are most likely paid hitmen. (Offend the blogger enough and maybe they'll go away.)
But you sir, are of a different sort. One that knows good snark and is able to use the slings and arrows of the wordsmith. Bravo. I am quite sure you will do the right thing when the time comes. Does anybody remember the movie where Dustin Hoffman rescues people off a plane? There are heroes everyday out there.. those that do the right thing because the right thing is what you do.

Neddie said...

That's a very standup thing to say, SA. I really appreciate it. Made my (otherwise pretty depressing) day.

Matt said...

One occasionally fantasizes they might sit on the '12 Angry Men' jury and be the one that turns the redneck jury, thus saving an innocent man's life.

I sat in one of those kinds of juries about eight years ago. . . except that I helped convict a guilty man. It was an ugly case -- a man was accused of sexually abusing his girlfriend's daughter. Among other evidence and testimony pointing to the defendant's guilt was a videotaped, emotional confession of the crime. The defense lawyers had no real defense, but they tried to argue (very weakly, and without evidence) that the confession had been coerced.

And in that urban setting, this guy almost got off on reasonable doubt. In our first straw vote, it was 2 to convict and 10 to acquit. Over three full days of heated discussion, the other juror and I convinced the other ten people in the room that all of the evidence pointed, without reasonable doubt, to a guilty verdict.

I left the jury room feeling that justice had been served -- and that I had not wasted a second of my time. Well, maybe a second or two, but this was in New York, and the amazing Chinese food I had for lunch every day more than made up for it.

glue birl said...

Well, shoot. That dog is still not barking somewhere, so you may get another chance. You may get your shot at stardom on Channel 5 news yet.

glue birl said...

Well....were there any funny looking people waiting with you, at least?

:)

Jennifer said...

"Made my (otherwise pretty depressing) day."

Maybe fate will smile upon you and you will find yourself behind some Hollywood pants.

Neddie said...

GB: Have you ever had one of those days where absolutely everybody is ugly? Know what I mean? Everybody's nose is too big, or their skin is blotchy, or they had a high-forceps delivery?

Yeah. Like that.

you will find yourself behind some Hollywood pants.

Actually, it wasn't all bad. Something along those lines -- or perhaps, more accurately, something along the lines of what one thinks about when following behind Hollywood pants -- happened. That was nice. (Hi hon! It's OK! I didn't reveal any details!)

QRED said...

So, you rose to the call of duty after all. Too bad Joel will never know.

QRED said...

what one thinks about when following behind

One hunts pants,
but wants cants.

Neddie said...

Well, see, that's what was so irritating about Joel's flouncing off in a huff -- there was never any question that I was going to do my duty; I said as much. A little joking about strategies for appearing eccentric during voir-dire is a long way from, I dunno, not filing my taxes. What a tool.

david said...

neddie,
as my wise old uncle used to say,
"fsck 'em if they can't take a joke."

pi said...

So it seems what's wanting, rather, is strategies for actually getting picked to serve; and then for getting assigned to the one-in-a-thousand cases that goes to trial where justice actually hangs in the balance.

Kind of like strategies for getting born rich, white, and pretty, now that I think of it.

But thanks for trying, Neddie. And thanks, Matt, for your story - much as I fantasize, with our distinguished host, of finding a way to save some sap from wrongful conviction, rescuing a rightful conviction (esp in such a case) is very nearly as praiseworthy.

pi said...

Well, damn. I tried my luck yesterday, to no greater avail. Many are called, few chosen.

The amazing thing -- I don't know how it will come out, but as of yesterday, there was an actual lawyer sitting in the jury box. Guy said he'd actually served on one previous jury.