Thursday, October 6, 2016
In the box
Months ago I was sent a rather ominous letter from the County of Los Angeles. Turns out I was summoned to jury duty and failed to show up. It wasn't because I didn't want to be on a jury, I did.
If you know me at all, you can imagine how I treasure the opportunity to deliver some justice to the imbeciles and cretins of this world.
I answered the letter with an immediate call to the county officials.
I told them that with two girls in college, a very hectic freelance schedule and a blog with 13 insatiable readers, I simply forgot to show up. The woman on the other end of the line was very understanding. She said she would forgo the threatened fine if I showed up to serve the following Tuesday.
Guess what? I forgot to show up for that appointment as well.
Again, not because I'm trying to avoid doing my civic responsibility. I actually enjoy witnessing the entire judicial process. And did I mention the possibility of putting away some imbeciles and cretins?
A few weeks ago, I was summoned again. Not by a simple envelope in the mail. This time somebody showed up at my front doorstep.
That got my attention.
So I showed up at the Inglewood Courthouse ready to do my duty. And as luck would have it, I was one of the first to be paneled, meaning I sat in the box and answered all the questions by the judge. All was going well until late in the interview the judge asked if there was anything about the case that could make me feel impartial about serving?
For one thing, the defendant was defending himself. Which might have been entertaining. On the other hand, the charge was a routine DUI.
He didn't hit anyone. He didn't cause any physical damage. It was just a simple DUI. Only it wasn't that simple and I was more than willing to share my opinion with the 75 potentials jurors seated in the audience on a hot day when the air conditioning wasn't working...
"I have a problem your honor. I can't help notice, and I don't think it has escaped anyone else's attention, the tremendous amount of resources being wasted to bring this case to justice. Look at all these people missing work. Look at all the time being spent. All the schedules re-jigged just because this guy doesn't want to pay a $1000 fine? All due respect to the court, but this feels incredibly irresponsible."
My little ramble didn't elicit a standing ovation, but I certainly heard about it at the break.
"Thank you for speaking up."
"I'm with you, brother."
"Man it's hot in this motherfucking building."
Truth is, I would have been more than happy to adjudicate a robbery or an assault or even something more juicy like a carjacking. But I had no interest in giving up a week of my time to listen to TEN police officers (they told us how many witnesses the DA planned to call to the stand) telling me the defendant was drunk.
Then I heard the magic words reserved for only a lucky few.
"Juror #9, you're excused from the panel. Thank you."
By the way, the guy looked guilty.