Today was the first day of the trial. I’m not allowed to talk about it at all, so some general observations:
1. The line for the metal detectors in the court house is much longer at 9:30 than 8:30
2. The people in the know at the court house call the metal detectors “magnetizers” (though maybe I’m already getting it wrong)
3. At one point or another everyone in the court room gets noticeably tired
4. It’s also fairly amazing to me how much the proceedings of the trial are geared toward the jury, which makes sense since we’re the ones everyone wants to win over — and we know so little about what the hell is going on. Like every five seconds something is being explained to us. Do the judges and lawyers and bailiffs really need to do all this explaining every time a new case starts? That’d drive me crazy. It’s fascinating how procedural the system is and how much the outcome depends on twelve randomly selected individuals who know next to nothing about the procedures involved. I guess that can be said for a lot of our representative democracy? Maybe I will make an effort to learn more about it… or maybe I will goof around on the internet more!
It’s official: I’m a juror. I am serving on a case in criminal court, and I’m kind of excited about it. Clearly, my level-headedness and innate sense of fairness shown through during the juror selection process, as I was the only one of the initial twenty NOT to be asked a direct question by the prosecutor or defense attorney. Either that or they both saw my babyface and thought: “pliable.” But I am not impressionable! I hold deep deep beliefs!
Like I said, I’m a little pumped about being on a jury, but it seems unfair that basically everyone else got the opportunity to say something peculiar/intolerant enough to get kicked off a jury. Would I be unduly suspicious if two people remembered small details of an event differently? Would I hold the testimony of a police officer in higher regard than a civilian? or expect more of them? Do I distrust cops, or maybe minorities? Well… no. But you should ask me anyway!
They just ran through all the juror exemptions. About half the room cleared out after she said that Non US citizens and convicted felons could leave, which seems a little unfair, no? Students and caregivers got to leave to.
The final exemption was my favorite: “If you do not understand English, you cannot serve as on a jury.” And people got up and left! Like lots of people! Was that like a trick? Were you supposed to wait until she said it in Spanish?
I think the next exemption should be: “If you have an outstanding warant for your arrest, or are delinquent in child support payments, you can leave through the door on the left, where the cops are waiting.” I bet we’d be surprised how effective that is.
It’s juror appreciation week down here at Kings County Supreme Court! What do I get in my manilla envelope of appreciation? A photocopied certificate of appreciation, a handy little NY State juror pen, a trail mix bar, and an ad for tkts in downtown Brooklyn, which apparently has just been welcomed by MetroTech Center.
In addition to all these goodies we got to watch a pretty kickass juror orientation video that started out with some medieval dude getting tossed in the water (but NOT drowning, LAME!) and ended with Diane Sawyer telling us how exciting jury duty can be. Yes, that’s the word I’m looking for: Exciting! It’s like NASCAR in a courthouse!