13 March 2010

Jury Duty: The Joy!

I have always wanted to serve Jury Duty. Does this make me weird? I assume yes, but, something about the process has always fascinated me, and, also, if I, or someone I loved, needed to sit through a court case, I would want the opportunity to have a fair jury. So when I got called in December, I never even considered trying to shirk the duty.

I called in all week, like a good citizen...and then on Friday, my number got called. I headed down to the courthouse, feeling a little worse for wear after a holiday party the night before. I do have to say, it is not a bad way to go through the selection process! I was called into the selection room, and placed in the front row. The judge got to look at my smiling face the entire time, and I am convinced that this possibly-still-inebriated face is what made them want me on the jury.

The whole process was amazing to watch. They don't show this on TV, but people are asked to reveal A LOT about themselves; I knew about folks' backgrounds, their drug use, their relatives' arrest records...all sorts of skeletons. For a nosey person like me, this was great fun.

Unfortunately, the defense attorney was no Bobby Donnell. I tried to find a picture to better illustrate how ridiculous this guy was...he was probably close to 60, though he looked almost 70. He was about 5'4", wearing a suit meant for a man of about 6'. He had crazy hair, losing most on top but long on the sides, a big mustache...and a speech impediment. It was like he was directly out of central casting. Unfortunately, he was also a bad lawyer, or at least presented a bad defense. It was so hard to take him seriously in the first place, that when he did try to go to hardline questioning, it just...fell flat. All of this could have been easily overlooked if he had prepared a better case (even I, as an amateur attorney, trained well by my many viewings of The Practice, The Deep End, First Years, and Jesse Vasquez's cases on BH90210, knew a better angle for this case...).

At any rate, I was ultimately selected for the jury itself. I arrived that Monday morning, prepared to listen carefully, take notes, and wait for the big proclamations and "objections!" This did not happen. In fact, the case overall was rather boring. I was more fixated on the fact that, on her big billboard on which she presented the facts, the DA had misspelled several things. Yes, this is so me, I know, but it bugged the crap out of me and I couldn't stop staring.

The case lasted just 2 days in total, and not even full ones. But I felt like it was time well spent. And that I got really lucky to be put on such a quick case, and not one like my coworker is on, which is taking her out of work/life for over a month. And I am so glad I got to participate in this process. It is such a great story (in person, I can imitate the defense attorney, which just accentuates the surrealness of it all). It made me feel like such a good American ;-).

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