Monday, January 23, 2006

Juror No. 2513

Today I fulfilled my civic obligation. I spent all day at jury duty, a huge waste of time.

My first mistake was thinking it would be perfectly okay to show up to jury duty with a hangover and on six hours of sleep. Not smart. I had been warned that my day would mostly consist of sitting in a room reading. I thought, " No problem! I'll just drink as much as I want to Sunday night, go to bed at midnight and zone out for awhile at jury duty." Sitting absolutely crammed into hard backed chairs next to total strangers while a droning, nasally voice called out names did little for my pounding headache. Plus, I'm sure my fellow prospective jurors appreciated sitting next to someone who smelled like stale beer at 8 a.m.

When I first got there, the judge came in and commended us for participating in "one of the cornerstones of our democracy." That got me a little hyped up about the whole thing. By 11:30 though my excitement at playing a role int the democratic process was wearing thin. I was starving and bored after finishing one book and making a sizeable dent in the next. I was counting down to the noon lunch hour when my name was finally called (mispronounced, as ALWAYS).

We were led into a courtroom. Okay, I thought, this is where it's going to get fun. I imagined being questioned about my political views, my career, whether under any circumstances I could sentence someone to death (no, by the way), and a scene culminating in a Pacino-esque "This whole court's out of order!"

Instead we were seated in the rows with the lawyers facing us while the judge described the entirely mundane trial that would take place tomorrow and what to expect if in fact we were chosen to serve on the jury. The whole time the lawyers for both sides sized us up, taking notes. The defense attorney was an older, rather sleazy gentleman who I couldn't get a good read on because he was the furthest away from me. The defendant looked scared and I felt sort of bad for him. The two prosecuting attorneys were a couple pieces of work. They looked no older than me, and gave off the air of a recently graduated sorority girl and frat boy. You can still spot them without their Tri-Delt Cancun Spring Break t-shirts and whatnot after they make the transition to Armani suits and Chanel purses. They were also doing a very poor job concealing the fact that they were sleeping together. After the judge was done explaining the details of the case, the lawyers for both sides approached the bench after which there were several minutes of whispering. Then were all dismissed from the courtroom. That was my shot at being on a jury. No questions, just a lookover by a few jerky lawyers. I felt kind of violated.

We were allowed to take a later lunch and then report back to the waiting room to possibly be called for another propective jury. I didn't get called again. At 4:30 I was allowed to go home.

On the upside I did get a lot of reading done. Probably picked up an illness frmo the hundreds of people I shared air with all day, and got send back with a note to give to my employer. That should give Dr. Hari a good laugh.


mr. schprock said...

“They were also doing a very poor job concealing the fact that they were sleeping together.”

What gave it away? The lipstick smear on his collar and the hickey on her neck?

I equate jury duty with a long flight in an airplane. Just bring things to keep yourself quietly amused and try not to think about how you’re trapped and can’t get out.

lefty_grrrl said...

Did you read "Memory of Running" yet? I'm guessing not, otherwise you would've been gushing about it.

Sorry the system let you down. Trust me, you are not alone in that feeling and assessment.

Jackie said...

that's so sad, I always thought that jury duty would be full of fun and excitment! what a let down

magnetbabe said...

mr. schprock-
No lipstick or hickeys but there might as well have been. It was the fleeting glances with the knowing smiles. I pick up easily on these things. And you're right- it's just like an airplane. You think it's a great opportunity to read but you can't help thinking, "Boy, I wish I were in my comfy chair with a cat on my lap and I cup of hot tea."

"Memory of Running" is next on the list. I have to finish "Vanishing Acts", this months book club selection. I think I want to read "Memory of Running" before book club too though. It's short enough so if I like it I can suggest it to the group. Then you'll have to answer to me and 10 retired Jewish ladies!

You can still hope. Maybe someday you'll get to be put on a murder trial! Yay!

lefty_grrrl said...

10 retired Jewish ladies!? I take no responsibility for their opinions on the book. (But they'll like it.)

trinamick said...

My co-worker got called for jury duty this week too. But she was allowed to get out of it since she is over 65. What's the deal with that? Older people might appreciate the times when the offender got hung instead of the jury? I've never been called, but I would try to get out of it. The only place I want to be judge and jury is on my blog. :P