Jury Duty…

I am confused right now. I am a fine, upstanding citizen of the United States of America in other words very patriotic, American, heck Pro-American, anti-anyone who is against our democracy and the USA. I am no plumber and I defintely don’t qualify to be Joe Six Pack, who is the poster boy of all things good, wholesome and American, just like warm Apple Pie. I wonder if I am truly all that patrioitic, all that American, since I don’t live in the right rural community, in the right state, work the right down home job, drive a F-150 truck with my riffle mounted on the gun-rack, and none of my immediate family members ever served in the military.  I think no one person can define what is American because it’s a mixture of so many different elements. So forget what you heard the candidate say, despite my affinity for riesling, my japanese engineered automobile, my ivy league education, my city address and my fear of gun’s, I’m definitely Pro-America. How do I know? I had jury duty today and it was like Christmas Day for a five year old.

This morning I got up before my alarm went off and immediately got out of the bed no snoozing for me. I was GEEKED, PSYCHED, EXCITED, THRILLED or any other expression of sheer glee that you would use to describe happiness to the third power. I was hungry, I was motivated and ready to lend my impartial judgment to needy plaintiffs and defendants. I ironed my clothes last night, I don’t even do that for work. I was hoping that I would wind up on a jury for a wrongful death or some divorce settlement case that would take at least a week or two.

I was dressed and out the door in twenty minutes. As soon as I got on the expressway I maneuvered into the hov lane. I don’t generally break the law, but I had to ensure that I parked and reported to the courthouse at 8 am. After braving the shuttle, the long lines, the secuity check point (don’t want to have another Brian Nichol’s outburst), and finding my way to the juror room, I was ready to perform my civic duty of providing my fellow american citizens the right to a trial by jury.

Once everyone checked in they showed a video, feauturing Brenda Wood as narrator, that explained what to expect and why jury duty was important. Next two judges came in to thank us and convey the invaluable service we were providing our community. Then the waiting began. I was anxious so I kept shifting in my seat. The men sitting on both sides of me kept looking at me. I smiled and told them both that I was excited to be there. They both just kind of grunted and one got up and moved to another seat. The juror room contained both State and Superior Court prospective jurors. The Superior Court clerks were clearly organized and started calling names as soon as the judges left. I of course was summoned by the State Court who didn’t seem to be as prepared and were slow to get their list of names together.

After about an hour the State Court clerks started calling names. I was in the third set of names that they called. I sntached up my belongings and headed to my designated court room. When I arrived they lined us up in the numerical order that our names were called and then we filed into the court room. Once inside the lawyers asked questions and we raised little numbered fans to indicate our response to the questions. After they finished their questions, they started to ask individual questions starting with juror number one. They got through about 16 jurors and then the judge requested the lawyers to apporach the bench. She then told us that they probably had enough prospective jurors  and so she dismissed the rest of us. I was sad, but I was confident that I would return to the juror room and get selected for anouther case. Wrong! After waiting for about 45 minutes they called my name separately. I thought perfect they want to put me on a special case. Instead they told me that I was free to go. WHAT!?!?! I wanted to be there so I told the clerk, “No, you can’t dismiss me. I really really really want to be selected for a case.” She just replied “Ma’am, you are free to go.” To which I replied “Are you serious? There must be something else you can do, just give me one more chance. I really want a case.”  She just looked at me and then asked “Are you okay?” I smiled and said “Yes, I am perfectly fine.”  She then smirked and said “You are probably the only person who wants to be here today. Oh, you know you can vote across the street if you like, but we have selected enough people so you are free to go.” Her tone made it clear that our discussion about this jury business duty was done. So I frowned and turned to walk away. Then she said “Don’t feel bad, they will call you back in about 18 months I will make sure of it.”

Advertisements

I’m a voter…

I voted today. I was in the downtown area and I decided to brave the maze of government buildings to exercise my duty as an upstanding American citizen. For some reason I was overly excited about the idea of voting early. I hate lines. I am that person who will stand in line for twenty minutes, become frustrated and get out of line. I do think there will be record turn out, and I would hate not to participate in the process this year because of my impatience. It would be highly unacceptable and I didn’t want to chance it. This is the most important election in my twenty some odd years on earth.

 

I managed to find my way to the right floor and the right room, once there I had to stand in line to fill out a form. While standing in this line, I noticed that there was a wet paint sign on the railing near where we stood. I avoided the railing because of the sign. Less than two minutes later, a woman walked up and leaned against it. A woman standing next to her pointed to the sign, but she responded that she saw it. She moved away from the rail and of course there was paint on her shirt. She started cursing, so this caught the attention of one of the security guards. He walks over to her and she says “I got paint on my shirt, who is going to pay my dry cleaning bill?” First she had on a regular cotton t-shirt. Second the sign was clearly posted in plain view. So he looks at her then at the sign and says “Ma’am there’s a sign right there that reads wet paint, the paint is wet what did you expect?” She leans back as she crosses her arms then says “I didn’t smell no paint when I walked over here so I assumed that was an old sign.” She is clearly offended by his question, so there is an exchange between her and the guard. She says some other colorful things, but it’s not necessary to share them here. The point is she spoke English, she could read the sign and she decided to lean up against the railing anyway.

 

The form we had to fill out was to collect basic information. It was simple to follow and all areas we needed to fill out were highlighted. I get to the desk and the woman in front of me is fussing with the clerk telling her that one of the questions didn’t make any sense. There was a section on the form that requested that you check either absentee or advanced voting. Advanced voting stated that this only applied the week before the election. Absentee was highlighted, so it was clearly the box to check. The woman didn’t want to check absentee because she feels that it doesn’t apply to the situation because she isn’t going to be absent she just wants to vote early. The clerk tells her that although she may not think it applies it is the box that she must check if she wants to vote. They go back and forth, and the clerk keeps telling her if she wants to vote she has to check that box. Another guard comes over and tells the woman to stand to the side until they can resolve the problem. Lady, there are only two boxes, pick one.

 

After signing in, I sat down. For the most part everyone was pretty quite, but there were some loud ones in the bunch. So much so that the person reading off names, stops and says “In order for people to hear their names when they are called, we ask that you keep your voices down. Please keep your conversations to a minimum and I need for you to use your inside voices like you are in a library. Thank you.” After making her announcement she goes back to reading off names. Not even five seconds after this, one of the loud ones, a woman sitting directly behind me resumes her conversation using her outside voice. I couldn’t help, but turn around and look at her. Did she not just hear what was said? Clearly she understood it because she was speaking English, but she completely ignored it.

 

These people voted with me today and I am very concerned.