Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jury Duty - Take 1

TheSee full size image State of New York got their money's worth out of me recently when I got nabbed for jury duty. Remember, awhile back I had to go downtown to account for my absence at an earlier session.  

Feeling annoyed, I showed up at the appointed place, at the appointed time, dreaming of ways to "get out of it."  I mean, what kind of fresh hell was this?  First of all, I was worried about what to wear. I had googled myself gaga the night before trying to find a dress code. I'm pretty sure they have this in Texas. No dice.  I went with warm and comfy.  Second, I couldn't determine the coffee situation, i.e. whether I could bring Starbucks into the building.  I did.  Third, jury duty appears to be another of those no-buffer-seat-zones. So even though I arrived promptly, even early, I ended up having to give up my bag holder/buffer seat because I couldn't stand watching the infirm and cane-wielding older folks amble up and down the aisles looking pained. I mean, I'm not an animal. Finally, my indignance reached its high when I found out how this crazy New York jury system works. Despite my hopes, this was not going to be over quickly.

See, in Texas, you show up, you read a few book chapters, you likely don't get called for the jury, and you go home, hyper with the knowledge that you just got out of something truly repugnant, like cleaning the litter box.  As with so many of life's petty activities, this was not to be the case in New York City.  Although it is not disclaimed on their site, you can expect to commit AT LEAST two days to jury duty. The system is kind of like rolling out dough for cookie cutter cookies. You roll it out, cut the cookies, then roll the waste back in and re-roll another batch. The jury system keeps re-rolling and re-rolling the potential jurists, assuring that most folks called are going to get chosen for one trial or another. If you don't get chosen for a jury by the end of the second day, you're free to go. It wouldn't play out like that for me.

I got called up in the first group of potential jurors, and, of course, because the universe is a snarky old biddy, I got chosen. For a rape trial. That's right. It's an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and i'm playing the role of Juror #11. 

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