Over the last 10 years or so I developed a peculiar interest in jury duty – I’ve read a lot of blog posts about it, heard about some controversial notions, argued the pros and cons of the current system, and heard a lot of ideas about how to change it. Perhaps, tomorrow, I’m going to be experiencing it first hand once again.
Tomorrow, instead of going to work and (literally) taking care of very important business, I’ll be doing jury duty. On the off chance that there’s a story to tell, I’ll chronicle it here. Carefully. There are specific rules about when to talk about things related to a trial; not so much related to just showing up in the courtroom and before being selected for a jury.
I’m joking around with all my coworkers about how to get out of jury duty. I’m not going to really try and do that; although, this is about the most inconvenient time. I’m involved in a big struggle over computer systems, which has long range implications. So we’ll see what happens.
My last time at jury duty was sometime in the late ’80s, when I was a poor young man, and I didn’t have a car. I rode my Panasonic 15-speed road bike to the courthouse, took out my two U-Locks, and locked it to a handicapped sign pole in front of the handicapped space. We all went inside, and I killed about an hour before we were told to take a break. As I walked back to court, after our break, I noticed there was a big truck parked in the handicapped space.
Some huge, old Ford with a homemade camper was pushed really far against the front of the space. I checked, and sure enough, the idiot who drove this car crushed my bike slightly with his horrid parking job. Car meets bike meets handicapped pole.
I started making noise, demanding that the deputies help me out. I got varying degrees of “Not my problem”, “I don’t know whose car that is”, and “Let me see what I can do”. After perhaps 10 minutes the owner ambles out and tells me he’s sorry – “Ahhhh didn’t *mean* to scratch yoooor baaahhhk laaahhhk that”. He pulls his truck forward, and I have scratches on the bike. Thinking about my prospects of suing this guy, I simply shrugged it off and decided this was a life lesson. So I went back into the courtroom.
I waited around some more, and my name was called. Time to go into court. We all sit down, and the first question the judge asks is “Do any of you potential jurors know anyone in the courtroom?”. I look around. Guess who the defendant is. Yep, it was him. This was my chance to get out of here. My hand shoots up.
“Uh, your honor, I had an…. altercation….. with the defendant in the parking lot this morning.”
“Would this affect your ability to be fair and impartial to him ?”
“Yes, I think so.” What a load of BS.
“You are dismissed.”
And that ended my first jury duty. I got another guy out who witnessed all the arguing as well.
That was at around 25 years ago, and I’m a different man. One thing is for sure – Anything could happen tomorrow, at least according to all my internet sleuthing on jury duty. Just going to have to find out.