Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scenes from Jury Duty, The End

by Jeff, guest blogger

The fourth and final installment of the saga of jury duty at the Superior Court…..

The afternoon of jury service demonstrated a far more procedural competence that the morning did.  The afternoon proceedings were far less comical than the morning, other that this constant need for breaks.  Apparently, those who work for the Superior Court all have bladder issues requiring breaks every 75 minutes.

After a nice three hour lunch with friends, we last 60 of the jury pool were right at 2 p.m. promptly shepherded off by Attila to Courtroom B.  Since I have since been dismissed by the court with no instructions to the contrary, I can tell you that case was one of prostitution.  Apparently, a sting operation against a massage parlor yielded two arrests some time back in our humble hometown.  Don’t know where or names.  Sorry you more curious type.  The defendants had pleaded not guilty, and they had interpreters translating the proceedings into Mandarin Chinese for them.

The entire case was to consist of three prosecution witnesses, zero defense witnesses and is expected to make it to deliberations before noon on Monday.  During jury questioning by the judge, I was surprised by the number of individuals who felt that prostitution should be legal in California.  I suspect some said that to get excused by the judge.  An effective ploy for sure.

Also I re-learned that judges and attorneys are fixated on juror relationships with other attorneys or law enforcement.

I never made it into the jury box in the courtroom.  Our group of 60 went down to the last eight, including me not reaching the jury box.  But the 12 jurors and a single alternate were seated.  I was excused back into the clutches of Attila.  Blessedly at 4:15 p.m. she had wearied from dealing with minions all day and released me from further jury service in 2015.

These missives originally began as an email chain to family, I’m sure to help Jeff pass the time.  We thought they were “blog-worthy”… I did do some minor editing to protect the innocent:)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Scenes from Jury Duty, Part 3

by Jeff, guest blogger 

Suddenly Attila calls the jury room to order. A panel is being summoned! 96 lucky jurors are going to courtroom J. She reads the names. Individuals respond as their names are called. But not me.

...five minutes later courtroom C needs jurors. 120 there. But, alas, my name is not called.

Now there are about 60 of us left in the jury room. 10 minutes later Attila calls the room to order. Another panel? She starts reading names. No lie, I am the very last name read. I was starting to think they had missed me. Our instructions you ask? Go to lunch. Be back at 2 p.m.


What a great country. God bless America. Maybe I'll go see if the Sheriff has arrested that yelling lady upstairs.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Scenes from Jury Duty, Part 2

by Jeff, guest blogger

Second in the series from the courthouse...

Once Attila, the snippy clerk of the jury pool finishes with the 65 people who cannot apparently read, listen or pay attention in any language to her instruction, we are down to about 200 hardy souls.

And we get our first break. Thank goodness, we'd accomplished about 10 minutes worth of substance so clearly, a break was in order. And most of that was instructing jurors about detaching their juror badges along the perforations AND putting them face forward into the plastic name badges.

Gave me a chance to pursue a Diet Coke and watch sheriffs restrain some lady who was mad at the sheriff for taking some guy off in handcuffs. Or maybe she was mad at the guy in handcuffs. Hard to tell. As a badged juror, I am persona non grata, and a sheriff told us jurors to 'move on'. But the yelling lady was loud and mad. And not afraid of the sheriffs. She could have taken two or three of them if she'd had a mind to.

Once safely back in the confines of the jury room, break over. Attila goes over the jury questionnaire with us. Helping us with the hard questions posed by the Superior Court to all jurors. Questions like your name, date of birth and can you speak English. This elicits about 10 questions from the jury pool indicating no one is listening. One fellow seriously asks twice what time will we be done today. Attila growls at the jury pool and reminds everyone that she is in charge. And when we get to the "are you a convicted felon" question, about 10 hands in the room go up, so she tells the questioners to 'line up' so she can take the questions one at a time semi-privately.

Apparently, judges are clamoring for jurors, but at 10:50 a.m., we don't seem to be in any hurry to actually go anywhere. Oh and Attila reminded us we are encouraged to donate our $15 per day and $0.34 per mile (one way) back to the courts so that they can continue to offer the fine accommodations like the ones we are currently enjoying.

I can't make stuff up this good...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Scenes from Jury Duty, Part 1

Jeff is our guest blogger for the day.

First in a series.......

I am coming to you live from the courthouse,  filling my jury duty summons.

So Attila the Hun makes the opening speech in the jury selection room, to a packed house (~300 jurors in space comfortable for 250). Her speech can be described as " I hate my job" blended with a cross between "quit your crying and suck it up" and "go tell someone who cares". Then half the room gets up to leave (reschedule and start over). At least we have more room now.

They are saying three days of service if selected. Criminal case. Could be in our hometown, they draw all jurors from here and they are pulling for that courtroom today, but you cannot specify. That would be too much customer friendly orientation for Atilla.

No wonder jury duty gets a bum wrIMG_0012ap. Overwhelmingly thankless for all concerned--jurors and employees.

But they pay mileage one way to get here. But not home. Who thought that was a good idea?

These are my peers? I need more hair (obviously!!!) and a few tattoos and a wallet chain.

All I know so far.