Monday, March 15th, 2004: I Don't Think He Looks Ridiculous At All

I'm 65 Million Years of Evolution, Bitch!
03/14/04 09:27:58 PM  <link>
by: regolith - mood: normal
Feeling somewhat better now. Maybe the eggs helped or something. Those Omega-3 fatty acids, y'know.

I forgot to tell my tale of Jury Duty last week, so here goes:

Woke up at 6:30 (about 2 hrs earlier than normal) and started my trek into atlanta at 7:00. Luckily, mapquest's directions were just fine and I paid my 50 cents to stay on GA-400 to I-85 to fulton st. The free juror lot was right there, so I parked and got on the shuttle bus. At the court building, I emptied my pockets into a basket and put the basket and my coat through an x-ray machine and collected my stuff on the other side without incident :)

I checked into the juror waiting room on the 7th floor and sat down to read Isaac Asimov's I, Robot on my PDA (in preparation for the movie). In an hour or so, they played an introductional video about jury duty, then I went back to reading. In another hour, I was #6 of 65 people in the first group called. We went to the courtroom entrance and lined up by number, filed in, and sat down. The first 14 of us (including me!) got to sit on nice-ish swivelling seats in the jury box, and everyone else sat on uncomfortable benches/pews in the back of the court.

The lawyers for the state were an Assistant DA and the CHIEF Assistant DA. Guess it was on-the-job training. The defense lawyer was a somewhat aged (60s?) skinny black guy who was missing a couple front teeth, so he was a little hard to understand. The case was about a man who allegedly robbed a woman of her handgun... at gunpoint.

For the beginning of voir dire, we answered yes/no questions from the state and the defense by raising our hands. They were pretty much designed to find any strong reactions to guns or the police. These were followed with individual questioning of the jurors by prosecution and defense. The young-looking guy right after me turned out to be a pastor who owned 3 guns! They were hunting rifles, so I *guess* he wasn't a David Koresh in the making...

After him, we had lunch. Not wanting to wait for the elevators, about 10 of us when down the stairs... but they were no-reentry stairs, and the door at the bottom was alarmed, so after trying this red phone and getting no help, we just set off the alarm and walked briskly out. Most of us went back into a neighboring government building which contained a cafeteria (very reminiscent of Brittain at GaTech). I tried to order a chili dog, but they were out of chili (probably a near-miss for my digestive system, too), so I had a hotdog and fries which, if I had eaten all the fries, surely would have done me in.

After lunch, voir dire continued. There was a guy who owned 12 guns and a couple people who had close relatives who were victims of gun violence. Five or six people had a friend/relative who had been raped, which was kind of disturbing to me, since it outweighed the other violent crimes by double. The defense started asking every other juror whether he or she had ever mistaken someone's identity.

During lunch and the breaks, I met a couple guys who looked something like me (white, overweight, no hair). One of them looked very similar to Patrick! (see the about page) Anyway, after my part in the voir dire I basically had to sit and pay attention to the proceedings for hours and hours and hours, since reading was verboten! I held up pretty well until about 4:30 when they halted voir dire at about person #40 and sent us out of the room.

About 15 minutes later, we were called back in and we left the jury box empty, so I had to sit in the pews. The attorneys started their "silent strikes" to eliminate all but 14 jurors (2 as alternates, I guess). I could barely keep my eyes open during the process. The defendant started sleeping on his arms and was woken up by his attorney! Anyway, they finally got done a little after 5:00 and started calling people to the jury box. At first, I had been somewhat eager to be on a jury, since it would be my first time, but by 5:00, I was ready to go home. I might've started crying if they picked me, but luckily they didn't. They picked the Patrick look-alike instead! I gave him a wry smile and a wave as I filed out of the courtroom.

Made it to the shuttle bus and to my car and to I-85 without incident. There was a wind advisory in effect (max something like 35mph winds), and the clouds were threatening. Just after I got onto 85, it started to rain. Hard. I was unsure if I'd be able to stay awake through the whole drive home, but the rain cleared up after 15-20 minutes, so I made it home alright.

I pushed my luck by staying awake long enough to eat dinner, but my luck quickly ended, and I passed out on the couch soon after eating. That pretty much messed up my sleep schedule for the rest of the week, and I was pretty worthless at work. heh.