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Jury Duty

Day One -- Monday

The night before, I had so much going through my head, I just could not sleep. So I stayed up, but I only made it till 5am. I slept for 2 hours, and woke up a little late, and rushed to get ready and get to court. Half way getting there, my stomach started its vengenance. I felt like I would explode if I didn't get to a bathroom soon. After finding a parking space and getting to the courthouse, there was a line, and it started outside. I already am running a little late, but once I finally got in, I had the metal detector gauntlet to cross first. That damn thing must of went off about 5 times on me, till the security guard mentioned my watch, and after that was removed, I made it through. Now, up to the third floor and to the bathroom before there's an incident. I think my stomach was on revenge is because I drank a 1/4 of a gallon of orange juice before I got there. When I got out of the bathroom, people were already moving around, so I hurried and checked in and got my "Jury Duty" badge of shame, and then everyone came back to the first room, so I just stayed there. I was only about 10 minutes late.

A few minutes later, we all got up and went into a courtroom. There were long wooden pews, like in church, and in a single file we began to fill them up from the back to the front. Luckily I was towards the front of the line, so I got to sit in the very back row. After all us sheep filed in, we got to watch a "15 to 20 minute video". As many times as that lady has played the video for people, I'd think she'd know the exact time of it by now. This video wasn't TOO old, but it was kind of funny how the people talked about jury duty. Some questions were answered by it, and when it was over, we all sat there with the deer-in-headlight look on our faces. About 15 minutes later, we all had to rise for the entrance of the judge, which I thought was stupid because I was looking at him like he's my public enemy number one. Then we sat down and he talked to us about jury duty. He had to read his lecture from a piece of paper. That went on for about 15 minutes, with a joke at the end saying if you want to get out of jury duty, you'd have to not register to vote, not register a car, and not have electricity, (he said one list they use is from the power company). So I wonder if the Amish are exempt from serving jury duty? Then we all got to leave that room, which was about 85 degrees by the way, and back into our "Jury Duty Lounge".

It was now 9:45am. So I sat there, read a newspaper, chatted with the old ladies next to me, and a half an hour later, some lady came in to read off the first list of names to be sacrificed to the Judicial God. I held my breathe the entire time, and my name was not read. Whew! I made it through one list, but I bet there's plenty more to go. Then about 15 minutes later, another lady came in to read off the 2nd list that would go to another judge. Held my breathe again, and my name was not read. Whew! Second list done. The old lady next to me said that she has a friend who had to come into jury duty, and he got out of there around 10-10:30 because his name was not called. So that got my hopes up, and I thought it would be any minute, and I could go home and back to bed.

Now here's the part when time standed still. 10:45 went by, no new list, then 11:00, no new list. It's been 3 hours since my last smoke, and I was Jones'in for one from all this 'stress'. So at 11:15am, I started my quest to find the smokers room the judge told us about. I knew it was on the first floor somewhere, so I hit the stairs and made it down to floor one. I found it, it was in a glass-walled lounge area, and inside THAT was another glassed-in lounge area, with no one in it, and ashtrays everywhere. As soon as I opened that door, I could smell the leftover smoke lingering in the air. It stunk. I knew when I left I'd smell like a damn chimney, but my personal hygiene didn't matter right then, I needed that smoke. So I stared out the window at all the free people, feeling jealous, and had my smoke. Then I quickly returned to my room thinking they would call my name, but I didn't miss nuffin.

So now back in the waiting room. I thought if Hell has a waiting room, it would probably look a lot like this one. But at least we weren't packed in there, even though there was about 100 people there all together. Everyone was there, old and young, tall and short, even a 500 lb. woman in a wheelchair was there. It was now around 11:40, and the lady behind the desk had the last list to read. She said the bad news was if your name was read, you have to stick around. If your name was not read, then you get to go home and find out if you have the pleasure of doing this all again on Wednesday. She had a list of 20 names. I counted each one out while holding my breathe. The stakes were in my favor though, there was about 500 people in that room while she did this, so I knew my chances were slim. When she read the 20th name and it wasn't me, I felt the world come off my shoulders. Then she had to read all the other names of people that should be there that weren't called on a list previously. This took like 10 minutes, and my name was towards the end of the list. Then me and all the other 500 people got to get in line to give back our badges of shame and get our parking validated. There were 2 lines, and I got in the one closest to me, which was the long line. After about 5 minutes and not moving an inch, I got in the second, shorter line. I got out of there right away. I wondered what took so long, and what they lady had to do was get your parking ticket, and slap on 5 stickers on it. Each sticker was an hour of credit for the parking garage. I thought, she has to slap on 5 stickers on ALL these parking tickets for ALL these people, that's gotta suck! But then I thought, this was the lady that hounded me to come in, and even though I told her I got to school, she took my precious vacation week away from me to do this shit. Know what? Screw her, let her slap all those stickers on, if she doesn't like her job, she could get a new one. ha ha!

So I got my parking validated, finally got out to the garage and finally got my ass home. Now I have to live with the suspense of waiting until Tuesday night, to call the jury duty hotline and find out if my number is called and I have to do this all over again on Wednesday. I really, really hope it won't, but if it's anything like the last phone call I made, I'll have to show up. I think the phone call procedure is just a false hope, and you're gonna have to come in no matter what.

So stay tuned for the next breath-taking jury duty adventure, coming tomorrow night!

 

Day Two -- Tuesday

Since I didn't have to be in court today, I slept about 12 hours last night, and have a 3 hour nap this afternoon. I don't know why, but I was tired as hell. Well, 5pm came and I called the jury duty hotline number to see if I have the pleasure of having to do all this shit all over again on Wednesday. So I called the number and my number is 0047, and the lady on the phone said all persons with numbers between 0001 and 0225 have to report at 8:30 Wednesday morning.

Great, now I get to do this all over again. I just hope I am lucky again, and my name doesn't get called from a list, then I would be out of there. If I do get called on a list, I'll have to bullshit my way through their questions, tell them exactly what they don't want to hear, and hope to get out of their pick of people for jury.

But on the good side, I now know what to expect, and don't have to be there till 8:30 compared to 8:00.

Wish me luck, and I will write about what happened, and hopefully about my narrow escape from Jury Duty!

 

Day Three -- Wednesday

Got to the courthouse early at 8:15am today. Had my newspaper and water ready. After reading thru the entire paper, it was only 9am. So I tried to keep busy while I waited. It wasn't until 10am when a lady came in with the list for today. She read off 30 names, and my name was towards the end. Great, I thought, now I have to get out of this one. So she had us go outside the room, and have all of us line up by order that our name was called. Kinda stupid, felt like I was in a army plane ready to jump out over enemy territory. Then she came around and told me that I would be the first person in the 3rd row, the last row. I told the people around me that I heard they usually dismiss the last half of people because they always have too many people come into the courtroom. So with this lifting my spirits, we all marched single file down to floor 2 and into the courtroom of some lady judge.

We took our appropriate seats, and had to rise for the judge to enter. Then we were seated and she told us a little about what was to take place. In front of us were the 2 sides to the hearing. The prosecution and the defense, because she told us that this will be a criminal trial, not a civil trial. Great, I thought, criminal trials last longer than civil trials. So at this time it was 10:15am, I had to piss like a racehorse, but it was too late for that. Enter the prosecution attorney to question the jury pool.

He seemed like a nice guy, he told us about himself and his family first for about 10 minutes, and the whole time going thru my head was, "I don't care, I don't care..." Then he began to talk a little about the case. The young punk on the defense was tried with distribution of a controlled substance, he was a drug dealer. I immediately thought, "Guilty!". Then the attorney would go around asking people questions to get to know us and what we thought about justice and all that crap. He would ask stuff like would we be fair, and listen to both sides, and be proven without a doubt, blah, blah, blah. He then said that this case would be a 3-4 day trial, and I start school Monday, so I knew I had to get out of this, at all costs. When he came to me, I told him I start school on Monday, I got to DMACC, my major is ... and so on. I felt that was good enough to persuade him to get me out of it. Then he went on and on with more questions, and he made sure to get everyone questioned, and his total time talking was 45 grueling minutes. It was now 11am, and it was the defense's turn.

This lawyer made me sick. He kinda looked like a Mexican but I wasn't sure on that. Either way, he looked like a slimy snake. He was greasy looking and had a pig nose. I knew that this guy was going to get it from me. He began talking about himself for a little time, then got right to the questioning. He would ask some questions, and after no one raised their hand, I thought I should of said something there. But again, we all were under oath, and I didn't want to get myself screwed here. The kid that did the crime kinda looked familiar. He was a scrawny guy, probably early 20s, and his eyes were set back in his head, looked kinda like a possum. He was sneaky looking, and I immediately knew he was probably guilty. Then the defense attorney asked if anyone would not be able to make a fair judgement against his client. I raised my hand along with some others. He asked everyone else first, then it was my turn. "Why don't you think you could make a fair decision in this trial?", he asked me. I replied, "Because I have no faith in the system". Everyone snickered to my remark. "Why don't you have any faith in the system?", he then asked. "Because it is now all about power, money, and corruption". I turned a few heads with that remark. He then got the other attorney and they both went up to the judge's bench, and had a short discussion. I was hoping I would get the boot right away, but no, he came back and went on to ask other people questions.

He asked more BS questions making sure to hit everyone, and then he asked if anyone had any predetermined opinions on this case, before the case was started. I raised my hand and quickly said, "I have no remorse for drug dealers". Pow, I knew that one had to leave a bad taste in his greasy fat head. He then asked more questions, and I would occasionally raise my hand, but he would say, "I already know how you feel about this", so then I knew my attention wasn't really needed anymore, because I had a clear shot for the door.

Then, finally, when his 45 minutes were up, the clerk would hand one of the attorneys a packet of paper, they would X out who they didn't want to be in the jury, and then she would hand it over to the other attorney, and he would X one out, and then she would give it to the other attorney, and so on. So this went on back and forth, each one X'ing out one person at a time, out of 30 people, till there were 12 people for jury and 1 alternate. This took FOREVER. The greaseball defense attorney took his sweet ass time, I swear to God. But I knew that I was probably was the first one checked off. Out of all the people in there, I was the most outspoken. Finally, after 20 minutes, that was done, and it was handed to the judge.

She then said the following 13 people WILL be on the jury and the rest of us had done our civil duty and we were to leave and not have to come back for the rest of the week and our term was over. She also said that our names shouldn't be picked again for jury duty for at least the next 2 years. Cool, I thought, I'll probably be living in Ames in two years, out of Polk county. I counted out the names as she read them. They all seemed like females to me. When she finally hit number 13, my name was not called, of course. I smiled ear to ear. Then we all were led out of the courtroom, up to our lounge to turn in our Jury Duty badges of shame, and get our parking validated.

So that's it. After all the worrying and fear of doing jury duty, speaking out my mind in a opinionated way, got me out of the dreaded jury duty. What have a learned about all this? Obviously how to get out of jury duty, even though the entire thing was the biggest hassle of the year for me. But there were a lot of people there that actually WANTED to do jury duty, and most of them were picked. So even though I had disagreements on how the system of jury duty selection was performed, it did do what it was set out to accomplish, getting butts in the seats, and probably putting another drug dealer behind bars. What really makes me laugh is the guy who got busted dealing drugs. We found out it was a prescription medicine, Oxycotton, which is a highly potent pain killer. This all happened in late February, so I know he's probably spent the past 6 months behind bars at the jail. He was a scrawny punk, so I'm definately sure that he's become some black guy's bitch by now. Oh how sweet justice is!

THE END



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