Monday, April 03, 2006

(I showed up for jury duty today!)

The judge came and spoke to the prospective jurors this morning, to talk about the case and the process for picking the jury. Part of her spiel covered how one could get out of jury duty by making a case for hardship (e.g. you are the sole provider for your family. and your employer won't cover your salary during jury duty, and you are caring for your infirm mother, and blood is currently gushing out of your carotid artery onto your jury summons, and you're allergic to law). The judge explained that there was a form to fill out for hardship cases. Then she said:

Ok, so I've explained the next steps and how to apply for a hardship exemption. At this point I'll answer any questions you may have about the jury selection process. I will NOT, however, respond to any questions about the hardship process. Just fill out the form if you believe you qualify for the exemption. For some reason, even after I give this speech and tell people not to ask hardship questions, I still always get questions like, "Does THIS count as a hardship?". DON'T ASK ME THOSE QUESTIONS. I repeat, do not ask any questions about the hardship exemption. Just fill out the form. Alright, any questions?

Dumbass 1: I've got to be out of town on Fri...
Judge: That's a hardship question. Just fill out the form.
Dumbass 2: My child's day care closes at 3:00pm...
Judge: STOP! You're asking me about your hardship circumstances. Don't.
Dumbass 3: What if I have a boat that is difficult?....

This went on for about 10 minutes. It was really remarkable that the judge could give that speech and then still get inundated with questions about what constitutes a hardship. It's even more amazing that this apparently happens every time.

For the most part I'm surrounded by smart people. My family is smart, my friends are smart, and my coworkers are smart. So, going to jury duty is one of those rare times when I interact with Joe Q. Dumbass. At least I hope he's Joe Q. Dumbass and not Joe Q. Average. Same deal with going to the DMV or traffic school.

Turns out that this trial will take about six weeks. My boss and I are hoping that I don't get selected. Six weeks is too damn long to listen to lawyers. I think I'm safe though. I can't imagine that either side is going to want an opinionated and surly bastard on the jury. My unpleasant demeanor really works in my favor at times like this.

4 comments:

zelda1 said...

I'm very hard of hearing, so, they rarely want me to serve, which is good. So, in the event that I do make it to the final phase of the process, I keep saying what, what, I didn't hear that. Well, the lawyers and the judge are real happy to send me running. I've also used the weak bladder. It goes. "Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom. Be right back." Or there's the farty burpy me, that sits there and burps and, well, I actually don't but it would be a real good reason to not be picked. Keep the sounds and smells alive and fresh in the old court room. And then there's the last reason to not be picked, but you have to be real careful with this one, but sit and look real paranoid, looking from right to left, and around and suspicious. Keep wringing your hands or wrapping your hands up in your shirt tail and stay close to tears. That's a definite get-out-of-cour freebie. Okay, grasshopper, enough wisdom given to you today. Run or hop over to that courthouse place and do your magic, get out of that nasty civil duty. Be like the rest of us smarty pants, let the Joe-Q-dumbasses decide the fate of the criminals, they are after all, on the same level, or at least somewhere. HA!

Mike said...

Zelda1, I don't know if I can match your ability to be thrown off a jury but so far I've never been chosen. This time they asked us to fill out an 8 page questionnaire, asking us what our opinions were on lawsuits, lawyers, and some generalities of the case itself.

I can't imagine that my answers were what they wanted to hear.

The Tart said...

Cheap Tart #1: My facialist is very touchy about cancellations...do U think that the trail could start at about 11:15am instead of....

Cheap Tart #2: Is there a Starbucks in the building & do you have WiFi. I have ta keep up with my bloggy or else I just can think straight and my meds.....

Cheap Tart's Mom: Look I just do NOT have time 4 this! I appreciate your time, but I must go now. And lastly, that man over there should not be allowed out of the house in shorts...humf! AND that cuppa. ; )

Cheap Tart's Muse: DUDE, I can't do this... The Tart will.. ya know! She NEEDS ME MAN....HARDSHIP!!!! (Gulp!)

Smooch,
The Tart

Mike said...

Tart (aka Jo*), your excuses are only slightly better than what I heard in the jury room. I'm sure tomorrow will bring more jury witticisms.