Friday, November 07, 2008

it sure ain't like law and order

A few weeks ago when I looked at my schedule but went ahead and signed up for NaBloPoMo anyway, I realized I was going to need some help. So I put out a request to people I have talked about on the blog asking if they wouldn't mind lending their own voices to a few posts.

My first guest-poster is angel07, a really awesome person I met toward the end of college who I still love to hang out with. I'm disappointed I hadn't met her sooner!


When Cadiz asked for guest’s posts, I thought “Sure! Why not? I’ve been a loyal reader almost since the beginning! I'll talk about some of my favorites that made me laugh out loud, embarrassingly, at work.” But then I hit a stroke of luck. Bad luck:

I got picked to serve on a jury.

Now, notice I didn’t say I got “summoned” for jury duty. I’ve received a summons for jury duty five times in the last eight-ish years, so that really wasn’t anything special. This was the very first time I was picked to act as a juror. It was for a first-degree murder case, and the courthouse was a hike for me every day. (Lucky for me, gas prices have been low!)

Rather than go on and on about the ins and outs and objections and side bars, here are some key points I’d like to highlight:

-The U.S. judicial system is slowwwwww. This crime happened in 2003!

-Through the jury selection process, you learn of the horrific situations your fellow citizens have endured.

-Once someone describes one of the defense attorneys as a cross between Ursula from The Little Mermaid and an Oompa Loompa, you can’t really help but think about that every time you see her.

-Criminal court cafeteria food quality is a step above airplane food. It’s more of a tiny hop really…

-When stuck in a room with 14 other people, after a week and a half anything can become amusing. Taking bets on how long it will take for the grease to soak out of a stale doughnut onto a napkin can be fun.

-Not everyone knows how to read—not even a 19 year old witness. (No Child Left Behind?!? Yeah RIGHT!)

-Some deputy sheriffs sleep on the job! I saw three of them do it!

-If two defendants are on trial for a murder, they can each have their own juries.

-There is no concrete way for a scientist to determine an exact time of death. Take that CSI!

-After 12+ hours of sitting around, you can forget where you parked your car.

-You are legally guilty of first-degree murder if you take part in, well, any step involved in the events that led up to the crime. (Even if you weren’t the one holding the gun.) So if anyone ever asks you for help doing something shady, say NO!

-No matter how patient I try and be, if you continuously talk over me we WILL have words!

-Nothing speeds up a unanimous verdict like the word “sequester.”

As I drove home just before midnight last night, we finished the trial and I have no regrets. Especially when the judge came to talk to us afterward and explained that the man we just sent to jail was a past convicted felon. No one mentioned that to us previously, as it would have led to prejudice. But I will tell you this: If I EVER get summoned for jury duty again, I will have five reasons in my back pocket as to why I cannot serve. Once in a lifetime is enough. ;)


If you would like to write a guest post here during the month of November to help me out with NaBloPoMo, just drop me a line at cadiztwelve[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks, angel07!


Anonymous said...

Been called for jury service a lot.

Never picked. All I have to say is that I am the sole provider and my employer does not pay me for jury duty. And its true.

Last time some guy got excused because he had already purchased a non-refundable airline ticket.

Becky said...

i've never even been summoned. i guess i'm tempting fate, just typing that out.

i imagine that, were i ever to actually serve, i would be the one who knits all day and supplies the expected shocked-face when some horrific detail is released.

they probably didn't tell yall the bit about the previous conviction because "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!"

Psychic Pimp said...

What? Its not as glamorous as it looks on TV? Boo! Hope you never have to do this again angel07. If you do get called again, I'll help plot your escape.

naechstehaltestelle said...

Yes, those rules of evidence are so strange and make no sense at all. For instance, you can sometimes bring in evidence that the defendant had committed an unrelated felony, but evidence of a similar crime? That's out.

Sphincter said...

I got picked for a murder trial when I lived in Boston. It was awful. And same thing. The judge told us AFTERWARD about a prior manslaughter conviction. The media all crapped on our verdict, but the evidence wasn't there, and we had NO KNOWLEDGE about this dude's previous crimes. I always recall this when I hear people criticizing a jury's decision.

SupaCoo said...

I have gotten summoned a few times but never made the cut, which I always found to be kind of disappointing. The first time I got summoned in Colorado was around the time Kobe had that whole thing with the girl up in the mountains dealie, and I thought for sure I'd be on that trial and find a way to write a book on it, making millions.