Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How everything I knew about Jury Duty was wrong, and how it changed my view on the system. Part 4.

I think this will be the last post, because even I am getting bored about this subject.

Okay.... by day three I was slipping deeper and deeper into anger mismanagement mode. I was starting to alienate all the people I had bonded with up to this point. By day four I was starting to have fantasies about tourette's style outbursts. This is the day I had to tap out, and let me tell you why.

While out on a lunch break I was sitting in the holding area, because frankly I just wasn't good company at this point. Some of the seated jurors were cuddled up patting each other on the back and whatever it is they do. I overheard one of the seated jurors say the following "I didn't know they would let me sit and talk for an hour about my opinions. I have lots of opinions".

Are you fucking kidding me?

This is when I realized everything I knew in the world was wrong. I had pegged this woman as a rational person even though I knew she was a Berkeley grad. After all, she was much younger than the rest. I noticed her the first day because she had one of those super slim iPods. She wasn't retired like many of the others and I thought she had things to do. Oh how wrong I was.

One of the lawyers I had been chatting with this whole time was also desperately trying to get out of service. So I kept asking him "is this normal"? Because I couldn't believe what was going on.

These defendants are in the fight of their lives. They don't give a shit if you rescue animals. I was pretty sure none of them even had degrees. One was much too young, and the other two had already been in the system for serious crimes.

At one point the lawyer admitted it wasn't normal - he said the court doesn't usually want to make people resentful of the process. That made sense at the time, but by day 4 I realized the judge didn't give a shit. After all.. who is he going to make resentful? One or two people? So What!

It was at this point I realized I could never serve on a jury. I could never get past the people who talked endlessly about their accomplishments, then when questioned further would admit "well... it was a long time ago, I don't really remember that much about it". Well, just a minute ago you said you were a rocket scientist. "Oh, I meant I once saw a rocket on the science channel".

Or the people - like in one case who spent 50 minutes being questioned, and asked over and over if they could be objective only to say "weeeeeeeeellllllll, I don't know". These people were given out after out - only to request to talk to the judge in private and never come back. 50 minutes! This was day 4.. it wasn't like he didn't have time to think about it. I don't care if you are embarrassed... he wasn't embarrassed to talk about anything else.

Please... someone let me know that my experience was an isolated case, because I just can not believe that the courts are run this way.

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