Monday, February 14, 2011

Eye, the Jury Pt. 2

Short day today, so it gets a short post.  (Short for me, anyway.)  We were only there long enough to hear one witness’s testimony and cross-examination.

As usual, I can't discuss the case but there are several non-case-related things I can share with you.

First, upon arrival, I noticed that they had replaced my hard wooden chair with a more comfortable, cushioned one, as I’d requested.  Yay for the Clerk!  Unfortunately it was still placed right smack in front of the witness stand.  The “elephant in the room” would have to make do.

As we waited in the jury room for everyone to show up, I began to wonder if we might have a couple gone AWOL, thus moving me closer to Actual Jurorhood.  But no, everyone eventually made it in.  We were called into court around 10:45.

The testimony started immediately.  It’s not at all like regular office work, where you can ease into the day with a breakfast bar and the news before tackling anything complicated.

About 15 minutes in, the best thing of the day happened.  The judge addressed me (Me!  The Judge talked to Me!) and asked if I could move my chair around to the other end of the jury box. 

I leapt to my feet, exclaiming, “It’s about fuckin’ time!”  I grabbed up my chair and fairly sprinted around the front of the jury box and planted it on the other side.

OK, I didn’t really say “It’s about fuckin’ time…” I said, It’s about fuckin’ time, Your Honor.

OK, I didn’t really say that either.  What I actually said was, “I’d be happy to,” although he may not have heard me because I was already hustling my chair out from the middle of the goddamned room.

Later, when we took a 5-minute potty break, I mentioned my relief at relocation, to a fellow juror.  (They are, in fact, allowed to talk to us Alternates, but we have to avert our eyes.)  Anyway, he laughed and said, “I could tell you really wanted out of there by the way you dashed out of your seat…”

As some of us continued talking in the jury room, I learned that I was not the only one distracted by something in the courtroom. 

There are several giant portraits in the room, of some very proper-looking colonial-type people, like 1700’s era.  All are in giant, thick gilded frames. 
The portraits looked similar in size, style and frame, to this.
Photo by gilbertstuart.blogspot.com

Directly across from my new location, there was one such portrait, but it was crooked.  And I don’t mean in that “Gee, I wonder if that’s really crooked or is my wallet getting too fat and I’m sitting cockeyed” way.  I mean in that, “Holy shit, will somebody please straighten that back out; it looks like the Colonial dude is sliding down a hill” way.  My OCD office friend Jenn would have been spazzing out over it the entire day if she had been empaneled there.

This bugged two other jurors as well.  I joked that I’d be happy to go over and straighten it out, but I was sure that the second I touch it, it would fall off the wall and I’d end up looking like I was acting out a bad sitcom.  My juror friend said I’d probably end up putting my head through it. 

I know… that would totally happen to me.

But after we were dismissed, as I was thanking the clerk for my “comfy chair,”* I saw my buddy go over and straighten the picture. 

No, it didn’t fall off the wall, nor were there any eye-holes cut out.  Sometimes, life is not a sitcom or Scooby-Doo cartoon.  (Please don’t tell Sitcom Kelly.)

Tomorrow is a full day of testimony.  My sore butt will really be earning that $15 stipend.

Wait, I’m not sure that looks like what I meant to say.  Prosecution withdraws the statement.

*Extra credit to all that got the “comfy chair” reference.  Next up, the SOFT CUSHIONS!

17 comments:

  1. I don't like those pictures like that, because I imagine that he's not wearing any pants.

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  2. It's a good possibility they weren't, Sal. No air conditioning back then. Gotta air out the old "Southern Hemisphere" when the chance arises.

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  3. ah...the jury. Such an important job. You go! And great job on you guys straightening up the colonial dude.

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  4. How come you brain is doing all the work but your butt is getting the stipend? That seems a little unfair to me. I object!!

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  5. Is the courtroom as dark as the ones on tv? Do they have those dumb little dim lights all around as if it's always night time? Or in a funeral home?
    A nice big picture of Alfed E. Neumann, the MAD icon, would be a welcome change of decor.
    Do judges really always say brusquely, "In my chambers". Or just, "Chambers", as if everybody already knows what that means. Do they have more than one chamber?
    Isn't Law fascinating.

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  6. I love it that someone straightened the picture! That would have totally bugged me, too! So would sitting right by the witness box, criminals walking by and all.

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  7. Momma Fargo,
    I sure wish I COULD go, but I'm doomed to be a spectator on this one. Maybe next year...

    Judie,
    The brain is being entertained. It's like watching a court TV drama; although it's more boring than an actual TV show, it's way more entertaining than a day at work. The brain is making out. It's the butt that's under pressure.

    Mary Ann,
    Our courtroom is bright, with several windows. There are two or three big portraits on the wall, which are now straight. Turns out, the one we fixed was of Daniel Webster. I had no idea Daniel Webster looked so severe. That's probably because he was writing the dictionary but the stupid colonials thought it was a really boring book about everything. Wait, that's Noah Webster... Eh; they all look alike.

    Our judge seems to be quite nice. Sometimes when considering an objections, he's like "Ehhhh, over-ruled," like he's flipping a coin in his head. He's not brusque at all, nor have there been any visits to the Chambers.

    Kernut,
    Yep, picture fixed, although one of the other jurors said today that it was still crooked a bit. I think she's sitting cockeyed.

    The other funny thing is in this portrait, it's like he's looking off to the side... and right at ME in my new seat. Like it's going, "Alternate 3? That's the best you can do? Putz!"

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  8. YOU? Hated being in the middle of everything?!? Really?!?

    My high school boyfriend's dad was a Judge. I loved to piss him off by answering him with Your Honor after everything.

    I'm such a jerk.

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  9. Cassie,
    I totally hate being the center of attention. I prefer to sit back and chip in from the wings.

    Believe it or not, putting the Darwinfish Fry was excruciating for me. I hate being that forward and chasing people down for commitments, just because "I" happen to be in town. It's only because you all are so fabulous, that I went through with it.

    And I only sat at the middle of the table so that I could have a chance at hearing people at both ends of the table. (Little did I know that I'd only really be able to hear that person on my right.)

    So yeah, I shun the spotlight. I much prefer to write for those that are comfortable there.

    Lastly, if I knew a judge IRL, I'd totally do the same thing. Plus stand up every time he came in the room. And refer to his bathroom as "Chambers."

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  10. I totally did all that stuff. I'd also ask to approach the bench.

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  11. And THAT is why I want to make sure you're always right beside me... so I can hear shit like that.

    It's a good thing we didn't know each other growing up... we'd have stirred up so much trouble. (I know... there would have had to be some kind of time warp involved... so sue me.)

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  12. O.K., so it is not like Judge Alex. Oh, man! That guy is such a hunk! But he is not as entertaining as you, I don't think. Oh, wait! You are not a judge. You are just an alternate. Hmm--I may need to re-think that.

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  13. Have you ever considered law school? Because "It’s about fuckin’ time, Your Honor" makes me think you'd be the best attorney EVER.

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  14. Judie,
    No, they don't make shows about alternate jurors... UNLESS... It's a show where a guy can shape-shift and can be hired to infiltrate juries and sway the verdict in a particular direction! We'll simply call it, "Alternate Juror." Scott Bakula can star.

    Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    I wouldn't have anywhere near the self control to argue a case without going bugshit crazy on someone. That's why I write stuff. Easier to edit.

    BRW, I'm using the same charms on everyone in the courthouse that I used with hospital personnel. You never know if you'll see them again, so it pays to be nice!

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  15. The look on his face says "I'm wearing ninja stars for underpants. Help."

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  16. Oh! I love your idea! Another t.v. drama! But you must play the lead, Bluz!

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  17. Sally,
    I was guessing "Paul Revere" underwear.

    Judie,
    Remember, I'm not the Leading Man type (unless they're calling for bowling pin-shaped, goofy-looking bald guys.) Plus, my morphing skills are rusty. I'd rather just write the series.

    The only one that can pull off the writing "my life and playing the lead" thing is Tina Fey. (Who I am undeniably falling in love with, while watching the Season 2 and 3 DVDs of 30 Rock) In fact, she may have just moved to the top of my "Laminated List."

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