Monday, November 01, 2004

10:05AM - Friday Oct 29 - Jury Duty

I've already been here an hour and a half. I've been up since 6, so i could see Anthony off to the airport. i wasn't able to actually ride with him to the airport because of this sucky jury duty thingie.

So after almost 2 mths here on vacation, Anthony is returning home; to his wife and child who've been inquiring after his return from the moment he landed here. i miss him already. i hadn't thought that having him around day in day out could feel so natural again; so much like we're supposed to live in the same town. Having him around has been a beautiful groundedness; often live confirmation of all the things i already think and am not sure about.

So back to this jury duty thing. I've had rehearsals for the VisionIntoArt production of 'A Tough Line', every evening since Tuesday (will have rehearsal again tonight at 6 and then tomorrow from 11AM to 6PM,) so i'm really not feeling jury duty till 5Pm this afternoon. I understand all about civic duty and stuff, but it's hard to think that the court system needs me to assist them in their part of the larger Prison Industrial Complex conspiracy (i know not all cases end up in prison or are criminal cases; just sayin'...)

My name has been called. I'm now in the empanelling area. I'm about to be empanelled (that doesn't sound right), but first i have to fill out the Voir Dire questionnaire, before i am empanelled (this is kinda like wood panelling a room with the people in it, i think).

I've filled out the questionnaire. I'm hungry. I wish i was waiting uselessly in the airport having a last beverage with Anthony before he left. I've had about 2 and a half hours sleep, and at this rate i wont get a siesta. But i still have a few tricks up my sleeve. I'll get out of here yet...

I've been excused from this case. They pulled me out of the room and questioned me and everything. Basically, it came down to the question of whether or not i'd be willing to apply a law i thought to be unjust as long as it was the law and the judge said that was the law that had to be applied. i said no. They said that if i was on the jury i'd be compelled to apply the law the judge said to apply. i said i wouldn't apply it anyway. they asked if i thought the system was fair as a whole. i said no. They wanted to know why i thought so. i said "you're lawyers! you already know why!" Then i told them that the entire legal system has been historically designed to protect particular classes while shafting others and that where i saw laws that i thought were unjust, my conscience wouldn't allow me to apply it. Then they said "aiight den. Beat it!"

A funny thing happened on my way to being disgusted at having to be here. I found that if i took their questions seriously and answered them truthfully that it automatically made me inappropriate as a juror. And i think that's unfortunate, that i can't even believe in the possibility of the fairness of our legal system enough to say "Yes, I can apply and will apply any law the judge instructs me to apply". I am also very aware that i am not unusual in this, and i wonder what percentage of the citizenry has to be similarly faithless before we can say that our society and its laws; the infrastructure by which it gets folks to toe the line - has broken down. Clearly enough people are answering these questions sufficiently well enough for cases to be tried everyday. But how many of those folks are answering truthfully and are going on cases they have no bias towards etc etc. i dunno...


i'm not feeling well and so i've run away from jury duty. it's lunch time and i've jumped on my bicycle and pedaled away from jury duty as fast as i can. they can't catch me now. i have to call on monday and tell them why i didn't wait for my name to be called on another case; but for right now, i'm doing about 40 mph on Tillary street, onto Park Avenue, onto Bedford Street. i absolutely cannot be caught...

it's lunch


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