Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jury Duty Hell - Part. 2

Of course the trial was on the sixth floor in City Hall. Of course we had to be herded outside in Satan's oven to get there. Of course, thanks to my sinuses draining like mad, I started the day with about 50 tissues and napkins and was quickly dwindling my supply. Of course I was as sick as a dog and I wanted to curl up in the doorway of the church on the corner. A homeless guy beat me to it.

We walked into the northwest entrance. I looked at the elevators and saw we were going to try and cram 45 people onto four working elevators. I looked at the circular flight of stairs to my right, then the elevators to my left.

Right. Left. Right. Left.

I went to the right. Dumb move.

I began climbing the stairs. It didn't look that difficult. I started off in a slow gingerly pace. However, the lack of me ever exercising caught up to me by level 4. Oh crap - two more levels. The heat was getting to me and my head wanted to split apart. I threw away my half-drunk coffee (that broke my heart) and walked up the rest of the stairs. My legs were rubber by the time I reached my goal and my heart was pounding like a double-bass drum beat in a Metallica song.

Everyone was gathered outside the door to room 676. As I approached the crowd, I got a few looks. They probably saw me forgo the elevator and are now witnessing me in pre-asthma attack mode. I wasn't a pretty sight.

We were ushered into the court room. It was friggin huge. The ceilings were at least forty foot tall with gold accented designs. I'm using the picture on the right as reference - that was not the actual room.

On the walls were paintings of past judges. The one that struck me most interesting was one of an African-American judge (or so I presumed). He just looked so dignified in his painting wearing a taylored suit with an actual patch pocket as opposed to a slit pocket over his left breast. I never got the judge's name and I'm not in a hurry to go back to get it.

On either side of the room were these pseudo-columns half in the walls. In the middle of the columns were chubby cherubs. The cherubs were positioned so it looked like they were supporting the upper half of the columns in mid sit-up position and their little legs were spread eagle. These cherubs disturbed the friggin hell out of me for the duration of the day.

We sat in chairs with our designated juror numbers. Chairs were wooden but comfy. I figured the lawyers will do the inteviewing in sequential order. By the time they reach juror 22, they'll be done, we'll be dismissed, and we can all celebrate by getting the frack out of there.

The whole process started at 9:15AM. The judge came in - we all stood. She seemed like a nice woman. She started to talk about the four duties an American can give to their country. The first was military service. I could tell by her tone she did not support the war but was supportive of our military. She scored points there. I forget what the second was because my mind just wandered away. When it decided to return, she spoke of the third duty which was jury duty. You could hear the groans from her "captive" audience. She informed us the trial which we were chosen for was going to take approximately two weeks. More groaning and few eyes widen with fear. Lovely. The final was voting. She stressed the priviledge we, as Americans, have in being able to get rid of someone in office we feel is not doing the right thing. And then she slipped in her reelection bid this November - of course. I checked my neighbors watch. It was almost 10.

Now came the series of questions the judge asks to weed out who will serve and who will get the golden ticket home. First question was hardship. Me, me, me!! Then came the ones which dealt specifically with the case. It was a medical malpractice suit involving the death of an 11 year old boy. After her questions came the lawyers questions - from both sides! The lawyer for the prosecution had, I swear, thirty five questions. And they were long, drawn out, technical questions. The defense was much more merciful with his les than ten queries. I checked the neighbor again - the little hand was on the eleven and the big hand was near the ten. Good grief.

And then they left the room. I presumed it was to get ready for the one on one questioning. I tried to settle my head and began reading my book.

By now I had gone through almost all of the tissues I had with me and was thinking of place I could get more. My tummy started to rumble. I was afraid to eat because of how I felt, but I knew not eating was stupid. The left side of my face was throbbing in pain. Reading was futile so I stopped. All I wanted to do was lie down and get rest.

We were in the room until almost noon time when the officer who lead us to City Hall informed us they were starting the questioning phase. He asked all jurors numbered 30 to 45 to go to lunch. All others were to stay until our numbers were called. Just my friggin luck.

And the lottery began.

to be cont'd


Bigandmean said...

Great description of the dreaded jury duty. If you really want to avoid service on a potentially long trial, just answer that you're mind is already made up - no matter what the question is. They'll have you out of there before lunch.

Maidink said...

Not this time. It was hell. As you'll see in part three, I didn't get called til the very, very end.

Of all my years of eligibility, I have NEVER had an experience like that.