Thursday, November 11, 2004


Rejected By The Justice Squad

So this was my third call. You meet in the basement. They call out a big group and send you to a courtroom. Each court has twelve jury box seats and a row of six chairs in front of those. Then the audience portion of the courtroom is filled. Somewhere between eighty and ninety people total. Once everyone is in the courtroom, they draw eighteen people at random to fill the jury box. The questions focus on those people, and eventually, as some are excused, others are drawn randomly from the audience to fill the empty chairs until all challenges have been expended and the final jury has been selected.

First time around was a minor case. I didn’t even make it out of the audience. Second time took two days. It was a murder case. We had a long questionnaire. I started out in the audience. Lots of people eliminated. My hopes began to build, but every time they pulled up more people from the audience, I wasn’t picked. Ok more detail. The challenges are directed to the main twelve, and as one is eliminated, someone from the six chairs in front goes to fill the empty chair. When all six chairs are empty, six are called from the audience to fill them. I was one of the last six in the audience. We finally got called up. At this point, they were looking for two alternates. I was guy five in this last group. You guessed it, guy number four ended up being the second alternate. I failed to make the cut again.

This time was different. First of all, one of my bosses, Little Cheese, was there. She’s funny but scary a little too. Of course I dreaded this because I have no conversation skills, and circumstances dictated that we would spend the day hanging out with each other. We get up to the courtroom, and I was randomly chosen for the big eighteen. Seat number seven, right in the box. YES!

We go through a bunch of questions and break for lunch. Little Cheese and I went to a local Mexican place. Pretty good lunch. I managed to babble successfully on work related issues. I mean, I won’t be getting any dinner party invitations, but I didn’t totally blow it either. Little Cheese is getting a good laugh out of me probably getting to serve all next week. Back in court, we started the eliminations.

Three people were excused for language difficulties. No one was challenged for cause. Then you have the peremptory challenges. Both sides got ten. I’m there in my nice shirt and tie. Looking like a good republican. I figure the defense might boot me. We go through about five challenges each. We’ve drained the six chairs in front and refilled them. Little Cheese is decorously cackling. It looks like I’ll get through. And then the prosecutor dumps me!

This threw me. I mean, I’m a law and order type guy. What’s his beef? All I can think of is that my profession is notoriously liberal. What a gyp.

On the positive side, the Team Magnum cocktail hour was changed again, which worked out good for me. More on that later.

Plus, there was a little sweet justice. I was eliminated at the end of the day. The jury hadn’t been filled. Little Cheese has to go back Tuesday, and there’s a slim chance she might still be picked. So there!
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