06 October 2012

Trial by Jury, Part II

Mercifully, Hollywood opted NOT to inflict a second installment of Pauly Shore's crapfest acting opus, "Jury Duty," on us. I, however, have chosen to give you a follow up to my last post on my fun in the jury pool.

Once we fled Arizona for Nirvana north of San Diego, it seemed like the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I got jury duty notices with alarming regularity.  This is where I was introduced to professional jurors. These are, for the most part, elderly people with nothing better to do than hang out at the local Courthouse, hoping to fill in for all the prospective jurors who elect to skip out on their summons.  It was also in SoCal where I ran into maniacs who would stop at nothing to get out of jury duty a la Liz Lemon from "30 Rock:"
The costume didn't work for Liz and similar shenanigans failed for some of the prospective jurors I ran into on multiple occasions.  It was on my last summons that I found myself unable to get out of my civic duty and I was selected to serve on a jury.

In spite of my pronounced desire to NOT be there, once I was picked, I took my role as a juror seriously.  You don't grow up the son of a highly-respected trial attorney without respecting the legal process.  I wish my fellow jurors had taken the case a tad more seriously.  It was a criminal case, involving charges of police brutality and questionable immigration status.  Anyway, the juror next to me spent the bulk of the trial downloading porn to his cell phone.  Nice.  The other jurors, a mishmash of the aforementioned professional jurors and a few people who were more concerned about where they would be going for lunch, seemed pretty much disconnected from it all.

I made the mistake of taking notes.  I made the mistake of noting that when the Spanish-speaking mother of one of the accused was speaking that the court-appointed translator incorrectly interpreted what she said. Why mistakes? Because when the case was handed over to the jury, guess who was made foreman unanimously?  Me, good readers, me.  Fantastic.

When one of my professional jurors announced, with more pride than she should have, that every jury she'd ever been in had ended in a mistrial because she was always the lone hold out, I knew things were going to be interesting. When she said that, I looked at her, and said simply, "Ma'am,that will not be the case with this jury." So we deliberated for a day and a half.  This was no "Twelve Angry Men" but our deliberations had there moments.  I am delighted to report that we reached unanimous verdicts on all of the counts.  We did our work.  Civic duty done.

A funny thing happened the day after we delivered our verdict.  Since I'd been in the trial all week and working at night to not be completely buried at work, we took the kids to the San Diego Zoo.  As we walked around that animal jail (I'm not a fan), lo and behold, we run into my professional juror lady.  Her husband pulled me aside and said, "She's been on a lot of juries and she says you're the best foreman she's ever worked with."

So, I guess that was a good thing? Now we wait - wait for the summons here.  Who knows what lurks in the jury pool here...

1 comment:

Enie Dub said...

I enjoyed reading your post about jury duty. I've served on three juries. My twin sister would love to serve on a jury yet has never been called. It's pure chance whether you are called or not here in Ireland.