Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Got summoned for jury duty last year, but I had moved to Orange County and told Los Angeles County they had no claim on me. "Send us proof you moved," said they. But the proof they wanted was somewhat difficult to get. "Forget it," thought I, "I'm not obligated to prove to you that I'm telling the truth."

Then I moved again, to Lakewood, just on the other side of the county border. At the same time I discovered at my parents' house a letter addressed to me: "You scofflaw, you didn't show up for jury service! You have now been ATTACHED and COMPELLED to appear on the following date! We threaten you with fines and jail time! Et cetera!"

Now that I am back in LA County, it's my civic duty and all. So I made the drive to downtown Los Angeles today (took an hour and twenty minutes to get from church to the jury room, most of which was rush hour driving.) Once there I learned that since I live more than twenty miles from the courthouse, I could have my service relocated. "Nah," I figured, "let's just get it over with. How bad could it be? Most trials won't run longer than a week. I might not even get on a panel and then they'll let me go after only one day."

But they sent me out to another courthouse to interview for a panel. I saw by the notice outside the room that it was a civil case, which seemed promising-- I'd been afraid of a rape trial or something else with images I don't want in my brain.

They called us forty-five potential jurors into the courtroom. The lawyers for both sides were standing and facing us as we walked in, and it seemed to me that they looked a bit... apologetic. We sat down. And the gruff old judge with an Irish name informed us that the trail is estimated to last... up to FORTY DAYS! That's going to be EIGHT WEEKS, or roughly TWO MONTHS OF MY LIFE SPENT DRIVING IN ICKY RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS EVERY DAY AND THEN SITTING THROUGH AN INCREDIBLY BORING CASE WHEN I SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR A JOB ALREADY!!

All but fourteen of the forty-five jurors were soon able to plead themselves free, mostly because their jobs wouldn't pay them for jury time and they couldn't afford to go salary-free for two months. Being jobless and lacking a dependent relative or a planned vacation, I had to stay.

We remaining fourteen filled out a questionnaire and were instructed to report tomorrow at nine. My only hope is to be excused based on my responses to the questionnaire. It's possible that my honest answers will make the plaintiffs not want me, but if they're really hard up for jurors I might be stuck. May God's will be done. :)


Eanah said...

Oh, UGH! I'm so sorry! And I thought the six-week trial I almost got on was going to be bad! The only silver lining here is that at least we're heading into August, which is a holiday-free month, so there will be no three-day weekends when court isn't in session to drag the case out longer.

Just tell 'em the defendant wouldn't be on trial if he weren't guilty. ;-) (Teasing, teasing.)

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

hmmm,, hopefully they kick you off :)