civic duty

Spent the last two days in New York County jury duty.

Thanks to a last minute reminder from Amanda I brought my laptop — whew. They had kickass wireless access for $9 a day. Day one, I didn’t get called at all and just worked away on my laptop the whole time. Delicious Vietnamese Pho for lunch which is a suggestion I took from Mike Doughty’s blog.

Today I made it to around 11 without getting called and then they made an announcement similar to this:

“This is a very special time in the courthouse — it is jury appreciation week and we have a special event in courtroom #300. I’ll now call out names randomly” My name was called.

We went down to one of the bigger court rooms and were given film waivers. They were video taping us. It turned out to be an event about the history of juries for high school kids from NYC, roughly half the audience. Us actually summoned jurors were really just seat fillers. The format was Ferris Bueller style “Can anyone tell me what cross-examination is…” It was awkward, but tolerable until the speaker started asking the high school kid’s opinions on judicial topics. Ugh, it had been a while since I had been exposed to high school kids in this context. They fell into three types 1) total jokers just looking for peer points 2) enthusiastic, but clueless 3) I had to restrain myself from walking across the courtroom and putting them in a headlock. Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York made an appearance and made an awkward speech about his opposition to the death penalty and ducked out.

After enduring almost two hours of this nonsense they gave us a key chain and released us. I was only mildly disappointed to not actually sit on a jury or even go through the voir dire — what? don’t know what that is? Well maybe you should go visit a high school in New York State in a few years from now and watch the civics class video about juries and look for me in the back.

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1 comment

  1. Ah, so you got sent to the "appreciation room". There are several names for it. Basically, the Jura400a.i. decided it was best to get you out of the "trial mix" (see trail mix) where the "nut cases" are separated from the flock. Accessing the wireless was probably what got you labled. The last thing the justice system needs is a free thinker.

    If you want to get on a good jury next time, prominently display a copy of the USA Today, and fall asleep during voir dire.

    Peace,

    T

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