Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hung Jury

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate jury duty? I got called AGAIN for Feb 16th. Not only is this a busy time for me personally, but I just cannot stand the thought of taking off work and trudging down to the court house to sit until 3PM before being called in with 300 of my closest friends to see who’s going to be lucky enough to get picked.

This is the 6th time the summons has arrived in the 14 years I've lived in the District of Columbia. Seriously, the average Washingtonian is called almost every 2½ years. It’s depressing really when you think about it. DC is known as one of the highest crime rates so the courts are bound to recycle us all through every two years.

One theory I have is the population make-up of DC is pretty limited as to who can serve. First, we have a huge proportion of foreign nationals living here given the number of embassies. Second, this area is very transient with the government jobs so folks won’t change their residency for the short time they’ll live in DC. Third, well let’s just say that we have a lot of criminals.

Add to the fact that everyone here is a freaking lawyer. Last time I was up, they called a group of 180 potential jurors. Of the eight white guys in the group, I was the only one who wasn’t a lawyer. SIGH. How little a non-profit marketing title can get you these days.

Here’s what I hate the most; during the process of picking the jury, the judge (or someone official) talks about a “Jury of your Peers.” Um, ok not to be picky, but I don’t carry cocaine and drive on expired license while carrying an unregistered hand gun. Sure I sound judgmental, but hey, how many times did I make 180 people leave work to give me a fair shake. Our company let 19 people go once and no one had to take off work to make that happen. (Well, I guess in theory, 19 people did.)

Anyway, I got picked once for a jury. HATED IT. The jury rooms smells; there is one bathroom for all 14 of you; and you can’t read or really talk to people. Then they call you in and you have to pretend you’re interested in what they have to say. Sure, this guy’s life is on the line, but hey, I’d so much rather be IMing friends.

The whole process took like 8 days; three to pick the 14 of us and then five for the trial. I tried to listen, I really did. However, all I remember was that there was crack in this leather messenger bag. Truly, I was concentrating on the satchel since I love bags and am always looking for new suitcases and such. But there was all this stuff about illegal search and seizure that just sort of bored me.

Anywho… come day five and we’re wrapping up. I was going to lobby for guilty, but I would gladly side with the group if they went the other way. I’m really not into commitment; I’d honestly grown tired of the group. (My attention is short with regards to law things like this.) So we’re just about to go into deliberations when the judge announces that two people would be released as alternates. He calls # 6 and #14.

After all that… me… #14 goes home and doesn’t get to fight fate with someone’s life. What the reward in that?

On the plus side, it took me a year and half, but I found the same bag on eBay. Score!


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