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04-10-2003 @ 12:54 a.m.
Jury Duty Redux

Well, today I did my civic duty. I arrived at the court house at 8:05 (not a time I usually like being dressed, coiffed and made up) because they said to be there between 8am and 8:15. I was really irritated that there were still people arriving at 8:45 and they held up the orientation for these people.

After filling out our questionnaires and waiting for all the stragglers to arrive (did I mention how much that irritated me?), they took all the "pink cards" (the ones with our names and juror numbers), shuffled them and drew out 3 names to serve on a grand jury. Thankfully I didn't get chosen for that one--it's a five week term of service.

For orientation, after explaining the rules and procedures, they showed this corny-as-hell video about the American justice system and followed "Mary", a juror and "Roberto" a defendant, both people who got to learn, first hand, what the jury trial system is all about. It was pretty lame.

We got a short break and then it was off to my first jury selection of the day. It was a civil case involving a woman who had been T-boned in an intersection by a man who admitted liability for the accident but denied culpability for her injuries and prolonged pain. She had an underlying condition that she wasn't aware of until the accident and the injuries she sustained exacerbated this condition and after 18 months, she was still in considerable pain and was suing him for $155K. Her attorney asked a million questions about pain--interviewed everyone who had ever suffered back or neck pain--and asked questions about car accidents, civil lawsuits people had filed or had filed against them, questioned all 24 of us about our occupations, our alma maters (in case we had any trouble feeling objective about someone who might have gone to a rival school), about the Secret Service (because that was the career she was trying to pursue), and how we feel about people who file civil suits for damages, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum. I think he took about 90 minutes to question us. Then the defense attorney had the chance to question us. He didn't ask as many questions but there were still a lot. Finally at 11:45, half of us were excused and the other half were seated.

We who were released were immediately taken to another courtroom. They needed 32 people to seat a juror for a criminal trial. A woman was alleged to have knowingly accepted a stolen credit card from someone she knew thereby facilitating fraud, forgery and identity theft. The defense attorney asked a lot of questions about whether people would be able to look at just the prosecutor's evidence and make a judgment based on that (duh) and asked if we would be able to make that judgment without having the defendant testify. He asked questions of all the people in retail about how carefully they scrutinized signatures from people they knew. He spent a lot of time trying to make sure that we all understood that she was innocent until proven guilty and asked if we could all accept that concept, blah de blah de blah.

The prosecutor did a lot of what seemed to be jury education, too, explaining what he'd do and asking if we could all understand it and make judgments on a person's conduct. He asked us how we judged a person's credibility and then asked each of us if we would be able to stand in judgment on another person. I thought that was an odd question but everyone seemed to feel they would be able to. I dunno--maybe some people are philosophically or religiously or morally opposed to judging others in a court of law. I was juror #29 and they dug down to juror #22 so I was free! Finally at 1:15, I got outta there. Now I'm in the clear for 2 years. I rewarded myself by buying a scrapbook magazine and getting some tape-runner refills. It was good.

I'm worried that Joey's hamster might be under the weather. She was coughing or sneezing a little today. I hope she's not sick. I'm going to check her tomorrow for wet tail. I really don't want to have to pay a vet for caring for a hamster, though. I doubt that Ed would go for that. He's a tough guy when it comes to vet bills. Then again, he's a softie when it comes to Joey so if it's her pet that needs care, he might not be so quick to say no. I'll keep an eye on her and keep my fingers crossed.

I fell asleep tonight at about 11:30ish and then woke up at midnight with a coughing fit. Then I couldn't get all the post-nasal drip crap out of the back of my throat and I was just lying there not falling back to sleep and feeling like I was drowning in post-nasal drip crap. I got up and made a cup of chamomile and decided to log in to Diaryland. Now I'm getting drowsy again but I'm not entirely sure that the same thing won't happen again--the junk is still in my throat. I hate allergy season. And it's all downhill from here--May/June hits and I'm a runny nose/watery eye/sneezy/itchy crazy woman.

Allergies suck.



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