Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 1673

The wheels of justice turn exceedingly slow. I arrived at the courthouse around 8 AM this morning for jury duty. By 9:30 AM, everyone sitting in the central jury pool had been administered the oath and assigned to a court. The rest of the day was spent in a lengthy and often tedious Voir dire process. I'm sure the attorneys eliminated some people as soon as they opened their mouth, but nobody was excused until well after 5 PM. This came as a shock to many prospective jurors who expected to be back at work by lunchtime.

This was a murder trial and the proceedings took forever as lawyers for both sides tried to find jurors who would be sympathetic to their case.  I don't think anyone wanted to be selected for this case. It appeared that a gang member had murdered another gang member and the defendant, who was in the courtroom, looked somewhat menacing. The defense lawyers asked prospective jurors if they could still be fair and impartial if they knew the testimony was coming from someone who had already been convicted of another crime. They asked us if we thought a uniformed police officer automatically has more credibility than someone with gang tattoos. Both sides asked us so many questions about what we thought constituted self defense that a lot of people, including myself, began to worry that this might turn into another Trayvon Martin trial. Nobody wanted to be on that type of jury. I was sitting on the front row during the selection process, so the judge said we would automatically be on the jury unless the prosecution or defense lawyers used one of their ten allotted strikes to eliminate me. As the day progressed, I became worried that I would be seated on the jury, since I really didn't have any good reasons why I couldn't serve. Luckily, one of the lawyers didn't think I would help his case and I was eliminated at the last minute. I was relieved. I wouldn't have wanted to be on this jury.

The dogs were relieved as well when I finally arrived at the vet around 6:30 PM to take them home again. I had to board them for the day, because I knew I'd be away too long to leave them alone. Nobody, including Dot and Dash, though I'd be down at the courthouse this long though. It was a very long day. Both dogs were indignant when I picked them up after their normal dinner time, but all was forgiven when I fed them as soon as we got home,

Since the judge admonished us several times not to say anything to anybody about the case if we were selected as jurors, I began to worry about the blog. What was I going to write about? Sometimes murder trials can go on for a long time. I even told the bailiff that I was a blogger and had posted something every day over five years without missing a single day. I wanted to know the specific ground rules, because as I told him, I had to write something every day. I wasn't going to let a murder trial stop me. If I couldn't write about the trial, could I write about the judge, or the other jurors? Maybe this is what eliminated me. Or maybe they didn't like that I had a hard time believing everyone truly enters the courtroom on an equal basis. Who knows? Maybe they though it was strange that in over a dozen visits to this courthouse, I had never been selected to sit on a jury. I'm still a jury virgin. Whatever the reason, I was glad to be able to go home at the end of the day and return to my normal life. They asked me to answer their questions honestly and I did. I'm glad they didn't ask if I thought the defendant was guilty, because he sure looked guilty to me.

Lizzy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

1 comment:

  1. I was on one once for assault with a deadly weapon. It was... interesting.