Failure to Appear for jury duty is not bueno. I realized this two days AFTER I was supposed to have been at the courthouse at 8:15am. The court clerk told me I better be there the following Monday or there would be serious consequences.
That took me straight to Def Con 1 in my mind. What if I’m late? What if I can’t find parking? What if I CAN’T FIND THE COURTHOUSE? OH MY GAHD I’M GOING TO JAIL.
Last time I was there I wasn’t lucky enough to have some hot Orange-is-the-New-Black girl to party with…
I also wasn’t a fan of prison fashion or skim milk and bologna.
I prefer to stay out here. Please and thank you.
That means it’s the perfect time to start imagining all the things that could make a person late to the courthouse and result in their immediate incarceration. Car accident. Flat tire. Full lot. What if I get lost??? This happens almost every time I get in the car regardless of the destination. It’s not only possible; it’s probable.
The only way I stood a chance of arriving on time would have been to spend the night in a hotel within walking distance of the courthouse. Or be driven. Oh my gahd or BE DRIVEN! I sent for a town car.
Uber.com – It’s not just for drunk people. It’s also for neurotic people. Hooray!
It was planned out perfectly. I would drive Anna to school and my knight in a shiny Lincoln would be waiting for me when I returned. I’m a genius.
A genius who didn’t account for an Uber driver who didn’t own a GPS. I watched the icon on my phone change from: driver is two minutes away, to driver is seven minutes away and panic set in. It’s important to appear calm in front of children while losing your mind, so I tried to make light conversation. Fact: I didn’t hear ANYthing my child was saying with her mouth. Science project bla bla bla. [Driver is 10 minutes away]. Girls on the Run bla bla bla. [Driver is nine minutes away]. Yearbook money bla bla bla. [Driver is eight minutes away]. “Love you honey – have a great day see you after school!” [Driver is 14 minutes away.] WAIT. WHAT THE FUCK???
I hate you, Uber.
I bravely decided to drive myself, and cancelled the car service. Five minutes into my white-knuckling voyage, the driver called and asked, “Where exactly is your house?”
Mutherfucker it’s on the street your dumb ass is NOT on, and I’ll be in JAIL before the sun goes down. This ride is CANCELLED!
“Thank you for calling. I couldn’t wait any longer and cancelled the ride via text.”
12 minutes later I walked into the courthouse on time with the kind of weepy relief typically reserved for hostages who’ve just arrived at an American Embassy.
Wrong. Remember when my ass went rogue and now I have to eat kale 19 times a day mixed with fairy dust? That means I had a tupperware container in my bag, AND A FORK. Forks are considered weapons when spotted in an x-ray thingy.
File under: frisked and warned. Add replace fork to errand list.
Once inside the assembly room we were informed a snack bar would be at our disposal throughout the day. They also asked for our patience, and honesty, because it’s operated by the visually impaired.
They also provided us with reading material.
57 years later they called my name and I followed the leader to the 6th floor. All 40 of us were ushered into church pews where Judge Flake (her actual name) called us to order so a “jury of peers” could be selected. Then the lawyers on both sides asked important questions relevant to the case, like:
Has anyone you’re close to been murdered? Have you or anyone you’re close to committed murder? Committed or been a victim of armed robbery? Arrested? Had a negative experience with police, or a public defender, or a court official, or the court in general or have a negative opinion of people who own guns?
They directed these questions to the group in 19,329 different ways and potential jurors raised their hand if something applied to them. Then we got to hear from every single person who raised their hand.
Here’s what some people said out loud on purpose:
“I would be biased, but I wouldn’t be biased.”
“I’m diabetic and I have to pee a lot and take medicine and I can’t be here.”
“I know someone who committed murdery.”
“All black cops, lawyers and judges abuse their power. The white ones are nice.” (The gasp was audible).
“This is all because of the Industrial Revolution.”
“The justice system don’t make no sense. It’s all corrupt. Worthless.”
My favorite? The clever fellow who answered every yes/no question with, “What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong.” He changed the inflection each time as if he were making a brand new point.
I was chosen for the team. Not because I’m awesome, but because I was apparently one of the few people who hadn’t murdered anyone, been robbed at gunpoint, or had their cerebral cortex severed without their knowledge.
Thanks to this experience, I’m not just afraid of being incarcerated – I’m also afraid of living out here with my “peers.”
Have you ever served on a jury? Hey tell us about the time you were arrested.