Monday, November 29, 2010

The Jurist

On December 6, I report to the County Court to serve my jury duty.

I am looking forward to it. This wasn’t always so. Back in my working days, I would moan and groan and wiggle liked a hooked fish to get out of it. I never did.

However, though I have been called four or five times in the last twenty years, I have never actually been on a jury and have only been empanelled once, which shows the system is fairly efficient at keeping crack pots off of juries.

The one time I got empanelled I was frantic to avoid getting picked. Someone told me that if you told the judge and lawyers that you believed in the death penalty, you wouldn’t get selected. From what I was hearing from the interviews with the other panelists, it seemed like the case involved the theft of car radios. My mind was racing to find a way to work my views on the death penalty into a radio pilfering case. Even for a hardliner, it seemed a touch severe to execute someone for depriving a motorist of Howard Stern.

Neither did I want to waste two weeks of my life pondering the fate of a radio thief.

With a heavy heart I took the chair to be interviewed by the lawyers and judge. After several preliminary questions, however, one of them asked if I had cause to be incredulous of police testimony.

Suddenly, I saw a shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds. As someone who grew up in the city, I firmly believe no one in his right mind would ever believe a thing a cop said. I also feel the same about lawyers, but if everyone who thought cops and lawyers were liars was disqualified from jury duty, our criminal justice system would grind to a halt.

However, I pointed out that, as a member of the borough council in my town, I was involved in a law suit with our police chief whom we were trying to discharge for sexual harassment of a crossing guard

This was the infamous case of the Pissing Police Chief.

Before I even got to the pissing part, the judge dismissed me.

Now that I am retired, however, I hope I get a case and it is a juicy one. Nothing violent with gory crime scene photos and splatter analysis though; and definitely not anything where retaliation against the jury is even a remote possibility. Something involving a high class escort service with lots of yummy young ladies vamping to the jury would be ideal.

Or something involving malfeasance in the county Republican Party. I’d love to send those guys to the chair.

I don’t think I’d want me on my jury though. Kathie says I never listen and form my opinions before any of the facts are in. Guilty. If some goon shows up without a necktie, I’ll send him up the river before he can open his mouth.

I also can’t remember anything I have heard or read for more than fifteen minutes, so it is totally possible that I could completely forget someone’s alibi: “Oh, he was out of town? Oops, I forgot. We can straighten it out on appeal.”

That brave juror in “Twelve Angry Men” who steadfastly holds on to his belief in the defendant’s innocence against the 11 others is not me. I am more the if-you-want-to-fry-this-guy’s-ass-that’s-fine-with-me-where-are-we-going-to-lunch sort.

Also, I don’t see well or hear well, have to go to the bathroom every half hour, get antsy if I have to sit in one place for too long, and always doze off after lunch. Sounds like it might not go well. I’ll keep you posted.


Mary Lois said...

This development does not bode well for the justice system of New Jersey.

Cheryl A. said...

Such honesty! It may work very well in getting you out of jury duty whether you want to or not.

Anonymous said...

I was on a jury a few times. Once I talked the rest into a guilty conviction for reckless driving.

Another time, we had "doubt" so we let the armed robber off. Turns out he was actually guilty, but the gun was inadmissible as evidence. Felt bad for the victim on that one.

If you do serve on a jury, maybe you need a catheter?

Steve said...

I was on a jury a couple of times. The first was a federal trial in Mobile AL where a convicted murderer (with help from SPLC) was suing some prison guards who had given him a beating. The most recent was where a young fellow was charged with raping his ex-girlfriend.

Please ket us know how this is going for you.