A Bible Belt beauty shares her shallowest and not so thoughts.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I got verklempt......

I had to go for jury selection today. I was very nervous and excited about it because it was a brand new experience, and serious. I was possibly going to be the one making a decision about somebody else’s life. That’s not an easy thing to think about. My heart was fluttering like mad for the first hour or so, then I just started getting MAD after that, with all the waiting around to go get interviewed. And I thought THAT was the bad part.

Then we get into the court room. There are 54 of us. You are assigned a number. The two opposing attorneys ask the whole room a series of yes or no questions. If it applies to you, you lift up your number card. Cool, no problem, but I do have a bony arse and these wooden church pews are really starting to hurt… What was worse about the situation was that I was on the end of the pew, and somehow everyone ended up scooting right, leaving me with one arse cheek hanging off the bench. I was so incredibly uncomfortable. Then we go to break. The bailiff saw me falling off the bench, and later reminded everyone to make sure all have room to sit; but to no avail, it happened over and over again. The subsequent times though, I felt comfortable enough to tell them to move back over, and it became a running joke, with even the row in front of us laughing when I asked for more space.

The next part of the interrogation began. Having your previous answers recorded, they then asked each one of us individually to tell more about whatever answer that drew a red flag for them. There are 54 of us. It lasted forever! Not to mention the nerves I had before they got to me, and my rear end issues. I was miserable!!! Even moreso after I was interrogated, because it was so tedious and boring and painful. By the end of the day I was ornery. I didn’t want to be there. I was pissed because they made us sit through all that torture. I was angry, and praying that they wouldn’t pick me for the jury.

The end of the session comes along. The two lawyers go back and forth crossing out people on their list, the judge is talking sports and urging us to talk amongst ourselves while we wait to find out who got picked. The guy next to me says that the suspense it killing him, that this is like when we were kids on the schoolyard and hoping that we weren’t going to be picked last, but it is different. I said, and kinda loudly when I reflect back on it, “Yeah, but it’s the OPPOSITE. Here, you’re hoping you don’t get picked!” And then the time came for them to call out the twelve jurors. Runnning down the line, up pops my name. My face turned beet-red with frustration, my heart sank, and I said in a loud tone under my breath “DAMN.”

We are asked to go sit in the jury box (very soft lazy-boy like chairs, thankfully). Before everyone is dismissed, the judge gives us all a lecture. He says (this is not verbatim)

‘I understand that you all took time out of your life to be here. I know a lot of you don’t want to be here, and have to continue to be here. I heard a story once, about a lawyer who was friends with Griffin Bell, an Attorney General who served under many Presidents of both parties. The lawyer friend asked Bell what he should tell his friends when they ask him ‘what is the best way to get out of jury duty?’ He said, without skipping a beat, that our country is founded on two boxes. One , the ballot box. The other, the jury box, and if you’re not willing to participate in either, then maybe you don't deserve to be a citizen of this great country.’ He said a lot more than that, and it wasn't as abrupt. I started to tear up, and was ashamed of myself for my little outburst.

I was humbled, and was tasting the leather of my shoe at that point. I haven’t served in the military like other family members have. I haven’t fought for the Allies, like family members have. I haven’t really done much for this country, except reap the benefits of our freedom. And when I think back to the Revolutionary War days, to Benjamin Franklin, to the Civil Rights Movement, to the current Presidential race, it makes me proud to be called an American. And Bell, and the judge is right. How much is it to ask of me to sit on a hard wooden bench for eight hours, with my rear end hanging off, when there were countless people who have gone through a lot more painful, courageous, horrifying and groundbreaking expieriences than this? All to make sure that we can be free, and we can be protected from those who intend to do us harm, and also to be protected from a judicial system that sometimes punishes people wrongly. It’s not that much to ask of us. And, on the upside, I get to sit in the cushioned chairs tomorrow.


Blogger FordeFam said...

Yay! I'm glad that you're not going to have as bad of a time as you thought! This is a good one!!! Very good point! I, all too frequently, take for granted the luxuries we have!!! :) I've never had jury duty before either! :) Hope you have fun! Glad you get a comfy seat...just don't fall asleep!!! ;0)

12:48 AM


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