Long story as short as poss: I recieved a jury summons in the mail about a month and a half or two months ago. I recently moved because I had a roommate who preferred not to pay her rent, lost my summons sheet, had it dawn on me exactly 31 hours before I was to appear at the courthouse that I had jury duty, had to call my boss and tell her that I not only forgot to tell her that I would not be at work on Monday because I, like the responsible adult that I am, forgot I was serving, but also that I had no idea where I was serving. Somehow (word vom) this lead to me admitting to her that I also have not had a valid driver’s license since December (yes, 9 months ago). Needless to say, it was a humbling conversation. So Monday morning I was up at 7 so that I could shower and call various courts to find out where I was serving. I called the county and they transfered me to federal and then lastly I called city, ding ding ding. (I don’t even live in the city…I guess I messed up on that too). So I walk in an hour late (I hate late people) and have to tell them that I don’t have my sheet. They found my name and told me to go upstairs to the jury waiting room. OMG, it was like walking into the crowded caf on your first day in a new school where you know NO ONE (yes I have faced it and yes as a senior I sat with a table of fresh who OBVIOUSLY had not heard about my arrival bc they wouldn’t even look at me) So obvi everyone (like 200 people) stared at me and not one person smiled, because let’s face it, we weren’t at happy hour, we were sitting at the city courthouse about to get paid $12 for an entire days work (isn’t that illegal?). So basically the first day was nothing worth sharing. I sat in a room from 9-3:30 and read a book from start to finish. Let me just say, it is quite eye opening when you are removed from your social “bubble” and placed with a group of randomly selected people. You are no longer surrounded by the people who eat at the same resturaunts, go to the same bars, and shop at the same stores as you. I didn’t realize the general population is so…slobby.
Day 2: So I woke up early and got ready for my big day in court. I was ready to be a serious jury woman and definitely had to look the part; polished, conservative, with a hint of sexy (just like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny). I stopped and got a latte before heading to court and was early for trial (I needed a little time to mentally prepare). My number was called shortly after I arrived and after listening to a brief explanation of the rules and how the day would go, I was lead to the courtroom with a group of about 60 other potential jurors. Right when I walked in I saw the lawyers and the defendant already seated. I made sure to sit as close as possible to the defendant so I could get a good look at him and really feel out the sitch. Right when I saw him I felt a jab in my tummy and my gut screamed “GUILTY”. I had to remind myself that the law says you are “innocent until proven guilty”, and as a member of the jury I had to honor this young man his rights as a citizen. The bailiff called twelve people to sit in the jury box, I was a little confused as to why I was not one of the twelve, but was quickly relieved when my number was called to sit in one of six wooden chairs next to the prosecutor, the rest had to sit on the spectator benches. I did NOT go to trial to be a spectator and figured I was called to sit up front because they had seen me and had a feeling I was going to make the final twelve. The judge came in and court had officially started. The prosecutor then started asking the group questions. Let me just tell you…people like to talk and they like to share their experiences. The prosecutor told us that this trial had to do with the defendant being charged with first degree robbery and criminal intent. He then went on to ask us questions relating to our experiences with robbery, criminals, our experience with the law etc. for the next 8 hours. It was pretty easy for one to figure out very shortly that you only needed to raise your hand and share your story if you thought that your experience was going to have an affect on your ability to fairly make a decision regarding the defendant. Well…people NEVER figured that out, that or they just did not care and wanted everyone to hear their stories. For instance, when asked if anyone has ever been robbed or had someone close to them be a victim of robbery a woman raised her hand and felt the need to share with the court that her neighbor’s car was broken into SEVENTEEN years ago. He then asked her what he asked EVERY SINGLE person that shared a story, “now do you think that the robbery that occured is going to affect your ability to fairly make a decision?” She said no. If your answer is no then you are obviously sharing for NO REASON other than you like your voice or you want people to look at you. That’s it. Next question. Does anyone in this courtroom know another person in here or related to someone in here? A woman in the back raises her hand and says that she has SEEN another woman in the courtroom before (huh??). The prosecutor asks her to eplain. She says that she has been in a store off north Kingshighway and thinks she recognizes the woman from being in there before. On this one, I sighed as loudly as I could, shifted dramatically in my chair, and then looked around the court with my “is this woman effing serious” look. Next question. Is anyone in this room in contact with someone in prison? A woman raises her hand and says that a few years ago she recieved a call from her friend that was in jail because she got a DWI. I literally stopped breathing. On top of this irritation, the man who was sitting in front of me had a bar code tattooed on the back of his neck and underneath it said F*CK YOU. I can not tell you how much it bugged me. I decided that the tattoo should be illegal, because why should a nice, innocent girl like me have to sit and look at such an offensive thing?! I wanted so badly to dig my red fingernail right into it, but I knew I had to contain myself in a court of law. Then there was the guy next to me. He was a black guy who was probably 27 years of age. When asked if anyone in the courtroom had been convicted of a felony he was the only one who raised his hand. Great. You know when you can tell someone is trying to make eye contact with you, like everytime you move your eyes you can see them pressing for you to look into their eyes? Well this guy could have made a living doing it and I’m 97% sure that when he recieved his summons he misread “jury booty” for “jury duty”. He started whispering creep nothings into my ear…”washur name girl?”, “you gotta man?”, “you got pretty eyes”, “is that your wedding ring” (um I hope not it’s fake turqouise from Forever!), “damnnnnnn (heavy, creepy sigh) you sexy”, “you got pretty feet”, I wrote all of these down in my Urban Outfitter notebook that was SUPPOSED to be for trial notes. Also, this guy had the worst breath EVER and he clearly did not learn to take note of body language because I could not have been leaning further from him. At one point, I swear he was talking to my back. After breaking for lunch he said, “Girl you smell so goood”, it really took a lot not to say “Sir, I can not reciprocate the compliment”. It was so bad that on my break I ran home and grabbed my purple scarf and sprayed a quarter bottle of Vera Wang Princess on it so whenever he talked to me after that I pressed my nose and mouth into it, he still did not get it. The rest of the afternoon went by just the same as the morning, more ridiculous stories and more creep nothings from my jury neighb. Finally at 6 PM they came to a decision…I was not one of the chosen 12. I think it was because they saw me as too informed and a bit of a threat to the case. I was glad to get out of there and back to my normal life with normal (kind of) people. I was ready to never, ever see the courtroom creeper again. For all you out there that have not been called, jury duty is not glamorous or fun. It is a wake up call and a reminder for you to stay in your social bubble. Never. Leave. It.