Courthouse Steps

Good news everyone, I’ve got jury duty tomorrow. This is probably only good news for me because I’m a geek about doing my civic duty, but I almost missed out on it.

Before I get into why I almost missed out on it, let me tell you why I love jury duty:

  1. It’s downtown at The Metropolitan Courthouse so I can take public transit.
  2. I can use the 90 minute lunch hour to go someplace awesome like Phillippe’s.
  3. Being in a courthouse allows me to pretend I’m an old timey detective.
  4. I can catch up on my reading.
  5. I don’t have to go to work.

Basically that is pretty close to my idea of a perfect day. No car, no work, good read and good food.

More courtroom drama after the jump.

So anyway, I got a postcard several weeks back informing me that I had failed to appear for jury duty. This was news to me because I don’t remember being summoned to appear but the card told me I needed to call and talk to someone about how to correct my mistake. No problem, like I said, jury duty = awesome.

Unfortunately, when I tried to call I was bounced around an automated phone system until I finally disconnected because there was no useful information. Damn it, all I wanted to do was find out when I had to show up.

Unlike many people I don’t mind automated systems, I prefer them to speaking to a person, but only if they are helpful and this one was the opposite of that. You’d think that the Los Angeles Superior Court automated system would at least have some information I could use. It could have told me which button to press or at very least how to back up and start over me but I could only bounce around the menu until I got frustrated and quit. Since I’m a civic nerd this took about 15 minutes. I assume that a sensible person would have given up sooner. According to the postcard I could be fined up to $1500 for not showing up…but what happens when I’m trying to show up and the phone system won’t let me? The fact that they send out postcards tells me that people regularly fail to appear so I assumed they would have processes in place to tell me where to go and what to do, but my assumption is proved to be frustratingly wrong.

I called back later and held on the line for another 10 minutes to speak to a person, they gave me a new date which was Monday July 7th. For the past few days I’ve called in only to be told that I was not needed but today, finally my number was called, I’m going in tomorrow. So tomorrow while you’re at work shifting the paradigm, thinking outside the box or maximizing synergies I’ll be reading a book waiting to hear my name called. I just hope it turns out better than my last jury duty appearance.

A few years ago I was in the jury pool for a murder trial. A woman allegedly poisoned her husband with antifreeze for his insurance. The judge identified the accused who was seated at the defense table, I waved to her; I’m a sucker for bad girls you know. Too much of a sucker because when asked if I could render a fair decision in a case like this I said to the judge:

“Your Honor, I feel I could not render a fair and unbiased judgment because I find girls who commit crimes to be very attractive.”

The judge dismissed me before I could give her my number.

Tomorrow has got to be better than that.

17 Replies to “Courthouse Steps”

  1. If you’re giving out numbers in the Courthouse tomorrow, it better be to rich female defendants with lesbian tendencies who know how to get away with offing their husbands.

    Just sayin’.

  2. I loved jury duty too. I wish I could be called to jury duty while living in Agoura Hills, since my closest courthouse is in Malibu. Hee!

  3. The downside? Sitting in a room full of idiotic jurors for FIVE DAYS who think they’re on an episode of Matlock.

  4. Argh…the last duty I ever got called on was in District Court. What an abusive process that is. Fortunately my occupation at the kept me on automatic strike during voir dire and I only had one day.

    The one time prior that I was on a voir dire the judge bumped me out. You know the part…”Do you know anyone involved”. Well I did, the pltf atty was slime (and later was disbarred for insurance fraud), the pltf doctor was always on our Special Investigation Alerts and the Def atty was actually a partner in a firm we used on occasion. That was the fastest excuse by a judge I had ever seen. I spent the rest of the week reading the Dune series.

    My wife just got her subpoena for District court. Since she hates the drive downtown even on a weekend she’s planning on the Gold Line. It actually may wind up being a post as we plan on a dry run to see if it as good as we have seen trains in other cities.

    There are a lot of interesting places to eat around the court house so Phillipes may have some competition once you get there.

  5. Maybe you should play the old time detective part to the hilt with your clothing, hat, and dialogue. If you have a female judge, you can say “lishen, schweetheart ….”

  6. Adding to what Matt said, regardless of what sort of case you may get if you’re seated on the jury, halfway through the trial just stand up and shout, “I’ve solved it!” and proceed to give a longwinded, expositional, convoluted explanation.
    I’ll give you a dollar for every minute that goes by before a bailiff escorts you out.

  7. I’ve always wanted to yell “Off with your head!” in a courtroom. Good luck juroring!

  8. Deadly (no pun intended) serious, I think that antifreeze case was the woman who killed my uncle. Luckily, she was found guilty without you. She is also suspected of killing one of her children by jamming a broken pacifier nub down it’s throat to get a settlement from Gerber, and another husband of hers died mysteriously.

  9. Jesus…that was a disturbing read, Jeremy. Sorry to hear about that. :(

    On a lighter note, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do jury duty, but I’ve never been summoned. PLEASE PICK ME SOME DAY.

  10. Jeremy – I just read the article, and I’m very sorry your family had to endure that. While I don’t think I was referring to the same woman (from what I understand the woman had not been previously married)I didn’t intend to make light of anyone’s tragedy.

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