Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dodging the Jury Duty Draft - Unsuccessfully

I've been down in the dumps for a couple of days. You see my country needs me. Oh wait... I mean county.

You see folks...I apparently am in some demographic that requires me to drive from the farthest end of the county, to almost the other side of the county. Somewhere close to 60 miles, in the most grid-locked traffic you can ever imagine. Without fail each and every year I get called up. I am always forced to go down to the courthouse at the opposite end of the county.

There is a courthouse one town over... but I guess we don't get enough murders to warrant anyone actually being summons there. At the other end of the county however, it is Murder Mecca. 114 murders at the beginning of October for Murder Mecca.

So, last night, I call to find that I am in the jury pool. FUCK. Every single time. I pray that tonight is one I can sleep. Being an insomniac one never knows from night to night.

This morning after making the hour and 40 minute drive I arrive at the courthouse. Which really is giving me an airport atmosphere without the excitement. They even make you take your shoes off to go through security.

I walk into the jury holding area, and the place is f-ing packed. I would guestimate maybe 500-700 people. Every chair is filled with people who are hating life. Except this one Berkeley hippy guy who was just happy to be anywhere. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They must have to go through a lot of people to bring all the combatants to trial in Murder Mecca.

To keep the patrons from rioting they stick on one of those 1960's-eque motivational "why jury duty will make you feel better about yourself", short movies. It kind of gave me a flashback to the orientation I got once at a fast food job when I was a teenager. Despite it trying to convince everyone that it would be interesting, and you might create new friends - I looked around - no one was really moved.

After almost 2 hours my group is called to see the judge, and the person we might be judging. By this time I can see there is no way I am getting out of this and I begin hoping for a drug trial. I always get murder trails. They are always really f-ing long. And did I mention my commute? Best case an hour and a half.. worst case.. 2 hours - maybe more. Each way.

So we sit down to hear the "alleged" crimes. And I am not exaggerating here. It took a full 25 minutes for the judge to finish reading the allegations. Fuck, I think... this is going to be a long trial. And truth be told, I have already formed a bias. 3 defendants, one already a felon. (Yes.. I am a little biased by felonies. These are serious crimes for someone who already has a less than stellar history.) 3 people dead "allegedly". No wait.. they are dead, but maybe not by these guys. Lots of weapons, and drug trafficking charges.

The thing is... I'm probably not the ideal juror. I'm pretty laid back until you get to murder, then I have some strong views. Hopefully they won't want me.. They would be insane to want me. But what does it matter. Next year at precisely this same time I will be called again. Probably for a murder. Can't they look at my last questionairs and see that I'm not a good candidate for murder trials? It would save us all a lot of time.

Links to the other posts for this subject. Precursor. Part 1, Part2, Part 3, Part 4.

4 comments:

Evil HR Lady said...

Serious bummer. In my county, you are excused for jury duty for 3 years after you do it.

I was called in this summer. The courthouse is 10 minutes away. I sat in a chair, read a novel and at 1:00 they dismissed us all. I'm free for another 3 years!

Of course, there aren't too many murders (knock on wood) where I live.

Peggy Archer said...

I wish Los Angeles were like that - a friend of mine got called up three times in one year.

She missed a ton of work (and she works freelance so she loses serious money and isn't paid), and what they paid didn't even cover her gas or lunch.

The courts here no longer recognize 'financial hardship' as an excuse, either.

she said: said...

"The courts here no longer recognize 'financial hardship' as an excuse, either. "

Oh my goodness Peggy... they are cracking down on that so hard. I couldn't believe it. If you claim financial hardship they actually ask how much money you make now.

They even said that having a disability was no longer a guarantee out. They would be "considered", but you might still have to serve. How much does that suck?

she said: said...

Evil Hr Lady... thankfully the town I have to serve in, is not the norm. It has an abnormally high crime rate.. but I don't see why I should be punished for that.