Thursday, February 03, 2005

Jury Duty completed

Jury Duty! I never really did give you guys the skinny on that wonderful experience. So here is the quick recap.

The postcard said I could park in a pay parking garage and they would validate the ticket. I didn't feel like going through all the hassle, so I parked 3 blocks farther away in a free garage and jen dropped me off in the front of the court house at about 7:30. I was to report at 7:45. Well, as luck would have it they don't open the doors to the building until 7:45-8 so I got to stand out side in line, in 15degF weather.

I strike up a conversation with the guy next to me in line, and determine he's a construction worker and has high hopes of getting out of the jury duty. We talk some more and I learn he helped build a gas station near where I work. He built it about 20 years ago. So he proceeds to tell me a story...

So I'm there, working, and this old codger of a dude starts walking across the cross walk. All the cars stop and he makes it most of the way across and then this one girl just plow right over him. He busts up over the hood and into the windshield, and then lies on the ground. I run over to help the dude, but he's all ready kind of getting up. I grab his arm, and can kind of tell this guy is tuff, farmer tuff. The ambulance comes but all he has is a little scratch on the head... man. The guy is tuff as nails. Everyone is standing in awe. Whispering. "Do you know who that is?"... Wow... that’s old man bob (name omitted).

Hear is the neat thing. Old man bob was the owner of our 0.5 BILLION-dollar companies. He was probably about 60 at the time. It was fun to hear another larger than life story about the old guy, that as legend has it owns most of the town, and will continue to work from the grave (he's not dead yet, and he just opened a new company a few weeks ago)

The doors finally open to the courthouse and we make our way up the steps. Everyone is concerned about if they have to take their belt off to get through the metal detector. Screw that, I Just walk through and it’s not a problem. We make our way to the checking room and learn that there are 3 juries starting today so there is like 150 potential jurors that have reported. We fit about 50 people in a room intended for 12.

After a few hours of milling around and waiting for the court to start we get to go to the actual courtroom and begin the actual jury selection. Judge comes in, everyone stands, judge sits down, every one sits. Judge goes into a 20-minute speech on the history of the jury system, starting 2000 years before Christ. Goes through the middle ages, touches on the European system, then draws the differences into the American system and ends the lecture after most of my fellow moron jurors are asleep. There were probably only about 10 of us, of the 50 potentials that had an advanced education. It was pitiful.

So the selection begins. They bring out this lotto drum with all of our names in it and the court secretary starts drawing names. These people then move from the selection area to the next area. About 25 people got selected to leave a little less than half of us still sitting there.

The judge starts quizzing all of those chosen. Name, profession, marriage status, what does your spouse do... etc. no one ever answered the last part (spouse occupation) which proved the limited mental capacity of these jurors. Then the prosecution and defense grilled them.

One kid said he could not be impartial because he had previously been accused of a DUI in Colorado and he didn't believe in the Breathalyzer thinggys. He spent a ton of his own money in his defense and was able to prove his innocence. Because one of the counts against the accused was a DUI he said he could not be impartial (probably in favor or letting him off, but he never did say). He got grilled for 20 minutes, and they finally let him go. He stuck to his story and never fell for the sucker traps that the judge, prosecution and defense asked him. I was proud of him.

Then this other lady says, "The accused is guilt, we’ve seen all the evidence, and heard the accusations. He is guilty". The judge says, "mam, the session has not even started yet, all we have heard is the counts that he is here for. Assault with a deadly weapon, leaving a crime scene, and a DUI" (there were actually 4, I can't remember the last count). The ladies said "well no one makes it this far in the system unless they are guilt so he is guilty"

The judge was visibly disgusted with her, and then some other lady chimed in on her side, agreeing with her. The judge pulled the surveys from both ladies that they had sent in per the jury duty process and turned them over and read the statements on the back. Both women had put really stupid stuff on their survey, trying to get out of jury duty. The judge ripped into them a little explaining it was their civil duty to be impartial and actually SIT AS A JURROR. But in the end about 5 people were let go including anti DUI student.

Each time a potential was dismissed they pulled out the ANCIENT keno machine and drew more names, I was really hoping I would get picked as at this point I was convinced I could serve as an impartial juror and set the rest of the 11 morons that were picked on the right path. But alas, they never drew my name =(

The case in a nutshell was some dude assaulted his girl friend with an AXE, chopped her windshield of her car, then cut her cell phone in half (nice shot) and then fled the scene. When caught, he had blood alcohol content greater than 0.10 and thus was cited with a DUI. It would have been a great trial, only scheduled to last 2 days, but I didn't get in =(

So after we took a break they picked the 12 jurors, but when they called out someone’s name they didn't go up. We LOST someone! The bailiff went to find them but couldn't so someone was picked in there place and they proceed. The rest of us were let go.

On the way out I see the guy that told the story of old man bob in the elevator. He was they guy they called and didn't show! He must have been talking on his cell phone too long or something. I'm not sure what happened to him but the judge was PISSED when we left.

1 comment:

forkev said...

nice story.
old man bob tough as nails. i like it.
mr burns, anyone?

I know the purpose of a jury is to establish 'reasonable doubt', determine guilt, and the judge does the sentencing.

i have a hard time thinking i could differiante between establishing quilt and appling a sentence, as the 'outcome' would weigh heavily on what i though this dude deserved. You ask me if he's guilty, i say yes. you ask me if he deserves to be sent to our defunct prison system to be turned from a soft criminal into a hard one and I say no.