The Defense would like to thank and excuse Juror #5
Haven't heard such sweet words in a while.
Today marks the end of the two day ordeal called Jury Duty. I was told to report in on Friday (that's Good Friday for those of you keeping score). They had us wait around for two hours then finally announced the first panel at 10 am. "This panel will pre-screened for people who can serve 21 days". My heart leaped into my mouth and I began praying as fervently as Moses did on the shore of the Red Sea. The waters parted and thirty five prospective jurors made their way to the 11th floor. I was not one of them. And neither was I called for the next panel. We were dismissed for lunch and I was back promptly at 1:30. I'm a good citizen that way. I worked on German homework (Deutsch Hausaufgaben) til three. They usually dismiss people by four so all of us were speechless when they asked people to return to the main room for another panel. First name called…. me.
They pick 18 people to sit in the juror chairs and because it's so late, they let us go at 4 pm and tell us to come back on Monday. I am not happy. I am an independent contractor so if I'm not working I'm not making money. I was surprised to find that many regular workers were not given any jury time by their employment and were pretty much in the same boat as me, pay-wise.
So Easter Sunday comes and goes (complete with church service at the Hollywood Bowl and the regular gang over for Easter dinner at my place… lamb, roast chicken, tomatoes stuffed with risotto and grilled asparagus). And I'm back at the courthouse at 10:30 am. The jurors are all asked a serious of questions about where they live and what they do as well as their feelings on whether drugs laws are too strict or not strict enough, whether police officers can be trusted, and if they are friends with cops or lawyers. I was amazed by some of the people's responses.
"Where do you work?" "I work in Pasadena at the blank a blank car rental place on blank street." Good. Tell the alleged crack dealer you're judging where to find you.
"Any one have any experiences with the law that might color your perceptions of police?" "I got a DUI last week." Wow.
"Anyone have any feelings about drugs one way or another?" "I am a user. I used last about 30 days ago" TMI!!
At times I thought the jurors were on trial and I never thought I'd learn so much dirt on people.
Personally I think the whole system should be overhauled. I shouldn't have to pay taxes that support the court system AND be conscripted in to jury duty. Only one or the other. Make all government employees serve two weeks out of the year. Pay a decent daily wage that would attract volunteers like the unemployed, retired people, students, etc. Allow for professional jurors.
Tha's my soapbox rant for the week. Thank goodness the defense didn't like the fact that I think drug dealers and users who can't afford their habits are the cause of most crime.