Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Duty


I've got the Jury Duty tomorrow.

I will of course perform my civic duty to the best of my natural ability. That is to say, I will show up.

But as an enthusiastic and experienced sinner, I am deeply reluctant to sit in judgment of my fellow man. I understand there are strategies to, how you say, avoid being chosen for a jury (and thus get released from the Courthouse with perhaps something of the day to spare). I suppose I could show up dressed as Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus- stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel of the Silly Party and announce to a breathless courtroom that I'm a pinko atheist sheepfucker, but I would imagine there are less wardrobe-intensive tactics.

Any of you lawyer types got better suggestions?

34 comments:

OutOfContext said...

When the judge asks in what appears to be a sarcastic voice, "Is there anyone else who has something better to do than sit in a jury box with 11 other captives for a few days?", make sure you speak up, saying there is this movie you'd like to see. "Right, off with you then," is what he will say, nine times out of ten.

James Young said...

I have a friend who, as a white male Manhattanite, gets called regularly, and has yet to sit.

He tells the judge that he practices "jury nullification" and when, after the others have been excused, the judge confirms that he understands it, he is politely dismissed from further service.

Neddie said...

Ooooh. Just read up on "jury nullification."

Got anything that requires a bit less cheek?

Bill said...

You should serve. It isn't easy getting intelligent, civic minded jurors, and the system depends on finding people like you. That said, if you disclose that you are a blogger, you are gone. And when in doubt, four words turn the key every time: "I can't be fair".

Neddie said...

It isn't easy getting intelligent, civic minded jurors, and the system depends on finding people like you.

Oh, I'll serve if asked. I'm just trying not to get asked.

That said, if you disclose that you are a blogger, you are gone.

Hah! Now this one I can pull off!

Tom said...

It really depends on your local system. Memphis (the only place that I've served) has an interesting system: there are almost no exemptions, as there are in other places for having kids or being a doctor or whatever, and if you get excused from a particular jury, you just go back into the pool for however long it is (a couple of weeks, I think) that you can be in the pool.

Once you serve, though, you're exempted from being on a jury again for ten years. And my actual jury service took less than a day; it was for a very minor-league lawsuit. Most jury trials are like that; very, very few are your weeks- or months-long sequestered ordeals, like you see on the TV.

Tom said...

Oh, and apropos of an earlier post:

Stephen Colbert said on The Colbert Report that he gets out of jury duty by dressing up as a wizard and demanding to be sworn in on a copy of Aqualung by Jethro Tull.

Dare ya.

glue birl said...

I was going to yell at you and tell you to do your civic duty. But, now that I see this was just blog post fodder, I won't yell at you now.

Decatur Dem said...

What the hell, Neddie, if you get lucky maybe they'll be trying a land developer for molesting goats or something. I'd pay to sit on a jury like that.

the ugly editor said...

How do you feel about lying? During voir dire, they will ask if you have ever been on a jury before, say yes, and that you were unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a hung jury. In all probability, you will be dismissed. A former member of a hung jury is like a hat on a bed to litigators.

Neddie said...

Tom: Dang, where's my Duns Scotus hat...?

GlueBirl: Yes, you're on to my Dirty Little Secret -- sometimes I say things that I don't actually mean for their entertainment value. Like, oh, I dunno, "I just threw my entire Prog Rock collection out the window" just to set up a truly awful pun.

I'm sure there will be a corking good blog-post coming out of the experience... "Today I saved Loudoun County from the depredations of the deeply evil Greenvest L.C. by sending its CEO to prison for molesting goats..."

"A hat on a bed"... Wow. An expression I've never heard before! Please to educate me...!

Neddie said...

...And now I realize, whenever somebody Googles the phrases "Greenvest L.C." and "molesting goats," up I will pop!

JC said...

A hat on a bed"... Wow. An expression I've never heard before! Please to educate me...!

Thats from Gus Van Sant's masterpiece, "Drugstore Cowboy," so far as I know. Or at least that film brought popularized the superstition. Bob never lets any of his drug pals leave a hat on the bed because he believes it brings bad luck. Eventually, some stoned-out knuckle-head does exactly that, and shortly thereafter the character played by the (then) lovely Heather Graham ODs. The soundtrack alone makes the film worth watching. watching

pi said...

dude. That is so weird.

'cause, see, I actually DO have jury duty next Tuesday.

Which is my dear darling daughter's birthday, no less. And I do not think that is sufficient excuse.

But here's the other weird part: I'm only not a lawyer yet 'cause they haven't told me if I passed the frickin' bar exam.

So naturally, I plan to show up with a copy of my Crim Pro text under my arm. That and a copy of Lazarus' Supreme Injustice.

And a printout of Jack Balkin talking about Critical Legal Studies. Dude, it's, like, all politics. Dude.

But the folks who say you should serve are right. I'm actually gonna try not to get thrown off. (Rotsa ruck...)

Jennifer said...

Well, have you called? Do you have to do your civic duty?

James Young said...

I'm not suggesting that you not serve. I was a jury commissioner once, but I know that I'll never serve on a jury --- since no lawyer in his right mind would throw a snake in the jury room --- so I took advantage of the lawyers' exemption on the one occasion when I was called.

Neal Boortz reports that listeners in Atlanta who admit to listening to his show are routinely excused.

Neddie said...

Thats from Gus Van Sant's masterpiece, "Drugstore Cowboy," so far as I know.

That was a great flick!

I Googled the phrase (duh!) and found it's an old superstition, as you say. Rather mundane, after all that effort.

'cause, see, I actually DO have jury duty next Tuesday.

Oh, I didn't mean to give the impression I was making up the jury duty tomorrow. That's quite true -- but my intention to try to weasel out of it's the part that I was exaggerating to spark conversation. As I say, if I'm called I will certainly serve. Beats a day at the coal face...

And, Jennifer, I did call, and I will be going to the Courthouse tomorrow.

Neddie said...

James: Having taken a quick peek at your Blogger profile, I wonder if you might have a nodding acquaintance with my neighbor and friend John Flannery....

Buttermilk Sky said...

The wizard hat thing is getting old. Try dressing as Abraham Lincoln.

There's a memoir by John O'Hara called "The Hat On the Bed." It's apparently an Irish superstition.

glue birl said...

I've never been called for jury duty! Ever! And I've always wanted to be.

I want to get on a huge murder case. Sequestered and everything. Duking it out with the passives and the aggressives behind closed doors!

Pounding my fists on the table to make my point! Never giving in!

Then! The verdict.

We leave the courthouse after weeks of listening and analyzing and judging and snickering and judging and snickering and snickering, only to face the papparazi!

They'll interview me and I'll be like: He didn't do it! We set him free! And then crowds will cheer!

And then I'll hit the cable news circuit. Only to get my own show, cuz the camera loves me so.

And I'm home free, baby.

Neddie said...

I'll confess, GlueBirl, that thoughts like these have not been far from the Jingo Consciousness since the Fateful Missive arrived in the mail. The straitened defendant -- perhaps a Latino immigrant, father of five, fighting a trumped-up murder charge, patsy for the dope-addled son of a crooked local politician, depending on an incompetent alcoholic Public Defender who falls asleep at dramatic moments -- the evidence piling up against him, desperately appealing to the jury (whose foreman is one Nedward K. Jingo, Esq.) for succour. Then, during sequestration, the vote 11-1 to convict and execute, the one piece of evidence that mitigates for the defendant comes to light: "Ah, but what of the mysterious matter of the dog in the night?" -- "But the dog did not bark --" -- "That is what is so mysterious!" The jury is brought around to acquit, and Nedward is interviewed on Channel 5 News, the Champion of the Downtrodden....

And then, of course, the evening headline: "Pigs Spotted in Full Wing Around the Leesburg Courthouse Steeple...!"

Neddie said...

The film version, of course, would be titled, "11 Angry Men and One Dumb Yuppie In Search of Authenticity."

glue birl said...

You crack me up.

Take a book with you. I hear it's actually kind of boring.

But, analyze the people around you, Jeddie! There will be blog fodder for sure.

Good luck, Nedward.

Neddie said...

Book: "Many Years from Now," by Barry Miles with Paul McCartney (second reading).

Observational eyes wide open. Neither quirk nor foible shall pass these eagle eyes.

GlueBirl, you rock with a power hitherto unknown to the people of this area. Please carry on with this rocking.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

My jury duty ROCKED. It was this really incompetent frame-up of this young navy dude by these two young black chicks. The way it unraveled was sort of small and full of pathos. My faith in th' system was actually temporarily bolstered even as my respect for mankind was dealt th' coup de grace. I can't wait to be on a jury again! It's so hate affirming.

joel hanes said...

Citizens perforce have duties, as well as rights.

Consumers have only desires.

I'm sorry to have discovered that you are merely a consumer; I had mistaken you for a citizen.

Last post of yours I ever read.

Neddie said...

Mercy sakes, Joel-at-3:38 AM... Who proves he's such a diligent an' subtle reader...

Wow. We're really gonna miss all your input, your smiles, your japes, the way your nose crinkles when you smile, those countless witty comments you contributed...

What shall my advertisers say?

ade said...

My work colleague confessed that, when receiving a letter confirming he had been chosen for jury duty, he wrote the court a letter - left-handed and in coloured pencil - explaining that he wasn't allowed out of the house to catch the bus on his own due to his "problems".
.
It worked a treat.

JD said...

My jury service was enlightening. I knew that judges were often SOBs, but the sheer scope of this guy's assholery shocked and awed. Made me glad I bailed on law school when I did.

I look forward to your observations.

EmployeeoftheMonth said...

You haven't lived until you have served on a transvestite prostitute assault (on john)case in Las Vegas.

That was fun and hilarious.

Kevin Wolf said...

I was called about 14 months ago and since I was in the middle of moving I sent in the card to postpone. (We have that option in Mass. but of course it puts you right back in the active pool.)

Never heard from them again. Either I'm clear because I'm now in a different county or there's a warrant out there for my arrest.

I, too, look forward to the Jingo version unless you can claim some sort of disability due to recent surgery. Play it up. I bet you're a natural born actor.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Dude holy SHIT what is that picture "BTW"?? I think that fuckin' guy was in my bad dream last night.

Joel Hanes is going to not buy gas on May 14 or whenever th' fuck it is.

Neddie said...

That's Michael Palin is Tarquin Fin-im etc.

Still shaking my head over Joel Heinous' comment, a day later. Is it possible that somebody that devoid of humor can even exist?

Jeeezis!

flem snopes said...

"Well he/she must be guilty; the police arrested him didn't they?" Said straight faced and innocently.

"You're excused, Mr. Jingo."