Monday, June 08, 2009

I got a letter from the government the other day I opened and read it, it said they were suckers

I spent the day at the courthouse for the jury selection process. It turns out that when you don't respond* to a summons they get a little bent out of shape and put your name at the top of the list for the next time around. There was no putting it off this time.

So, like a good boy, I showed up at the courthouse early and went to the jury services room. I sat there, watched a video about the jury selection process**, and waited for my number to be called. The woman announced that it was a slow court day, so she read all of our numbers and said we were going to lunch. At 9:30. In the morning. And that we were to report back at 12:30.

Luckily I'd brought some work along with me, so I read a few research articles during the downtime***.

When it came time to report back, I did. We sat there for about another thirty minutes, then they called out a group of numbers, had us all line up, and walked us to the court room. My number was so low that I was sitting in the jury box. The defendant in the case was sitting directly in front of me. So were the district attorneys.

The attorneys read off a long list of potential witnesses, and the judge asked if any of the potential jurors knew anyone on that list. Then she asked if any of us knew the defendant, his attorneys, or the DA and his assistant. The assistant was cute, so I wish I would have had the sack to raise my hand and say, "No, but I'd like to know her." It probably wouldn't have gone over well.

I'm leaving town this week to present my research at some meetings, so I asked to be excused from service. Luckily, the judge accepted that as a valid excuse and let me go. It would've been an interesting trial to be a part of though. I felt like I was in a movie when the D.A. stood up and told us about the nature of the case. The defendant was charged with murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.

The moral of the story? When you're buying crack cocaine in a dark alleyway in North Las Vegas, don't flash a huge wad of cash to your dealer. It's a good way to get yourself shot in the head and your money stolen. Whether it was the defendant who did the shooting or not is up to the remaining members of the jury pool to decide*****.

*I thought I responded to my first jury summons, but I didn't read it carefully enough. I didn't realize that I had to call in twice. I only called in once to see if my number was on their list of those who needed to report. It wasn't, but that was because I didn't call the first time to respond. Oops! My bad. I wasn't trying to be in contempt of court.


***Kind of boring, but not as boring as the video.

****It felt like we were some sort of unholy cross between a herd of cattle and a Kindergarten class.

*****Since it is a young man's life on the line, I'm glad I don't have to be part of that decision making process.


Lindsay-Weaver said...

I'm glad that you got excused, however it might be interesting to be on a jury. I hope I never find out. :)

Bill From Gainesville said...

I was once an alternate on a jury. I got to listen to the trial but then when the jury went into vote I was cut. I could have hung out to find out what the verdict was but it was clear enough to me that the woman was guilty of fencing stolen items --(she probably also stole the stuff as well but I wasnt going to vote guilty on that part. only that she knowingly fenced the stolen items which was also a crime)
I also got a letter from the government, only it was the FEDERAL government and they want money from me....

kmwthay said...

I will probably never get to be on jury duty - because I would LOVE it so much. Even more so if it were a murder trial!! It's always the ones who would rather eat a mud pie than be on jury duty that get the summons. c est la vie.

TROLL Y2K said...

I wonder if there's ever been a mistrial declared because a juror "twittered". Twittering is ghey, by the way.

Amber said...

even I know not to flash my money when buying drugs - sheesh ... amateurs

Native Minnow said...

L-W, It would've been an interesting case to be a jury member on. It really did feel like a movie set with the way the attorneys were posturing from the beginning. On the other hand, I'm sure I'd hear and see a lot of things that I wouldn't want to see, so I'm glad I was excused.

Bill, I think being an alternate would be annoying. It would suck to have to sit through the entire court case and then not have a say in deciding the verdict. If you have to be there anyway, it might as well count for something, right?

Kmwthay, that just means that you'll get called sometime, but it'll be a property dispute or something instead.

Troll, I know better than to "tweet" during the proceedings. Those all went up before I went to the courthouse.

Amber, I know, right? said...

I would be a horrid juror. I cannot control my natural impulse to roll my eyes violently when I smell bullshit.

deputymomof6 said...

Next time, if you don't have a valid excuse, say things like "all arrested people are guilty, so I don't know why this process is even necessary." OR, "all cops are liars." Either way, one side will give you the ax. :)