Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Short Story by RWS

Well, a few months back, I got the dreaded summons to report for jury duty.  I guess there's people out there that like to do this sort of thing, but not me!  I wear nothing but blue jeans, so no nice clothes to wear, I'm not fond about driving into center city without a bullet proof car and not fond of sitting in an old stuffy room for hours and hours.  Not fond of trying to find a parking space, even in the lot for jurors so I would arrive so early just to get a space, it wasn't funny.

I knew it was coming, every time I appeared, I got closer and closer to being selected.  So, it came as no surprise to me when I called the night before to see if I was required to report, that my panel did indeed have to report.

So, I dig through my clothes and find one pair of dress pants that I thought was suitable.  I try them on and yep, barely fit me anymore, it's time for a diet for sure.  I lay down on my bed and goody!  I can button the button now!  Whew.  I got all my clothes ready for the next day and I'm all set.

Luckily, the hubby was home and offered to take me over and pick me up!  Yippee, that makes things a bit easier on me.  I get dressed, laying down to button my pants and made sure my purse was cleaned out of anything I couldn't get through security.  Lucky again, I remembered my itty bitty teeny tiny Swiss Army knife is in my purse, that didn't make it the last time I went through security, so leave it at home this time!  LOL!  Can you image how that looked in x-ray?  But, it really is small, I could do more damage with the Bic pen laying in the bottom of my purse, seriously!

We drive over there and oh my, things have changed!!  There's now a big, beautiful parking garage!  Good to know.  Wow, there's no longer a 5 mile hike to get to the door!  Think about the old days when these places were built, you go up a few steps, walk a block, more steps, another block just to get to the front door.  Now it was built down close to the sidewalk, enclosed lobby and covered walkways, woohoo! 

So, I go to security, lay my purse down and the man says "Do you have anything in your pockets?"  I was about to say NO but realized that would be a lie, so I said "Yes, a Lifesaver"  LOLOL, I couldn't tell a lie.

I have to report to the first floor, room 131.  I get into the elevator, now I couldn't use the ones off to the side, I had to use the neat ones in the center of the lobby, I get inside and the doors shut, I push the button for #1 and the doors open again!  LOLOL, I take it I'm all ready on the first floor?  I was thinking I was on the ground floor.  I acted like it was fun and got back out, hoping no one was looking.

I find the jury check in room and sit down.  It's now a beautiful, large room with four TV sets, a table filled with magazines, many more chairs and even vending machines right in the room!  Woohoo!  And the bathrooms are much closer, you used to have five minutes to run 8 miles to the rest rooms!  You must get there early to get a seat, it fills up quickly.  Of course, I decide I better quick run to the bathroom.  Off I go, get into the bathroom stall, sit down and OMG it hits me, how am I going to button my pants?  OMG!  Whew, lucky for me, they stretched a bit and I was able to button them without laying on the bathroom floor.

Run back and I lost my seat but got a better one.  Now, why do they know they invited 120 people but only have about 110 chairs?  Miss Gayle, the jury organizer gets started and tells us this is exciting!  It's something very different and she is sure we'll enjoy it.  Then, she informs us, we are all moving upstairs and will get started in about 35 minutes.  We can all go do whatever but report back upstairs, yea, I get to ride the elevator and actually move this time!  She says we'll only be there about 90 minutes, that's good news and they give everyone an excuse paper for those who need it for their employers and they don't tell them what time you arrived or what time you leave, so enjoy the rest of the day once you leave!  LOL!

I decide to run outside and call my hubby so he knows I won't be there all day long.  Yep, once again, have to go through security and the one man goes to me "welcome back!"  I thought that was so nice but then it occurred to me he probably saw me riding the elevator the first time and wondered if I had any brains.

Onto upstairs, they call your name and give us cards, two of them, a small one and a large one with a number on them.  We file in as we are called and sit in an actual courtroom, okay, what is going on?  And hey, the mayor is here and I mean, he was summoned to serve!  Tee hee.  I'm in the very last row, number 112.  Once everyone was seated, we were told this was very interesting because it is for GRAND JURY, an investigative grand jury.  sigh.  They explain that we would serve about 18 months to 2 years.  Yep, you are reading that correctly.  And they ask if there is anyone who has an employer that wouldn't go for this and gave everyone 10 minutes to go out of the courtroom and call their employers.  Once everyone was seated again, they started at the first row and asked anyone if there were any objections with their employers to hold up their big card with their number on it.  The district attorney read off any numbers raised up and at the end, they discussed things and read off every one of those numbers and told them they could leave.  WHAT?  I could have held my card up and with no questions asked, gotten out of there?  Who knew?  A little while later, I asked the people around me, what happened to the mayor?  He had a hard ship and got to leave!  Maybe his boss wouldn't pay him for the time served.

Now, you hold up the large card if you have any questions.  Easy, right?  One gentleman just couldn't get the hang of this concept, needless to say, he was allowed to go.  Next, they ask if this type of commitment would be a hard ship on anyone.  One lady told us all about her surgery, she's feeling much better now, but what if she has a re-occurrence?  It was her two L1 and L2 vertebrae that got injured so sometimes she has to stop for a bit, like when she was walking across the Giant grocery store parking lot, she had to stop and rest.  The next question was great!  This young man asks if he can volunteer!  LOLOL!  The judge said, sadly, no, this is by lottery only.

Now, I must say, the people all throughout the courthouse were so nice!  Except for Mitch, he was kinda stuffy.  But the district attorney had a great sense of humor as did the judge!  It made things so much nicer.

We are finally down to about 66 people and we need 23 permanent jurors and 12 alternates.  They take all the remaining small numbered cards and start the lottery.  How?  They put all the cards in a trash can and shook them up!  LOLOL!  The judge wants to get one of those large drums with a handle that flips them over and over and she can draw from the basket.

The first one picked, it's a man and as he is walking down the aisle, he says, do I get a prize?  The judge threw her hands in the air and went YEA!  Too funny.  Yippee!  The man who wanted to volunteer got picked!  Whew, permanent ones are all picked and I'm not one of them!  Onto the alternates.  Sigh, with only 5 more to go, my number is picked.  I'm now an alternate juror on the grand jury.  How long do we serve?  18 to 24 months.   The good thing is, they really are trying to make it as pleasant as they can, we will only be meeting on every other Friday starting in Sept. and we get to sleep late, don't need to arrive until 9:30 AM.  If you need to miss a session, it is okay, you will get a transcript of the session to read so you can keep up.  They really don't think we'll be there passed lunchtime either, it goes pretty quick.  There might be times where we have to change times but it doesn't happen too often.  If a storm is coming, they will cancel the session.   And our new best friend is Christine, she mans the phones and you can call her anytime with concerns or questions. Now, it's time to pick a foreman, the judge says she thinks the man that wanted to volunteer could be a foreman, would he accept it?  Yep!  So cool.   The last business for the day was to be assigned our juror numbers, they are given out in the order we are now sitting, which is in the order of how the lottery numbers were called.  As Christine went along to each person, the district attorney stayed to talk and answer questions.  The newly appointed foreman had a lot of questions and you could just see he was determined to do a good job!  She was over heard telling him that we really will have (looks around to see who is nearby) and I shouldn't use this word, she says, but we will have Fun!  And coffee, bagels and stuff and the first day we arrive, we will find notebooks with our names on them and a pen so we can take notes but they take them back each day, this is all top secret, you know!  (Their words, everything is top secret!  Even the phone numbers we are given in case we need to contact them, top secret).  

So, it's my turn to ask questions, I asked my first question and then said "Now that we have been chosen for this, does that mean we have a lifetime exemption for jury duty from now on?"  That got everyone laughing including the DA, then she scratched her head and said, well, I can pretty much guarantee you won't be called while serving on the grand jury.  But she thinks she needs to make this suggestion.  LOL! 

What is an investigative grand jury?  We will be helping to investigate crimes!  We will assist the DA, we can ask to see witnesses, transcripts and just about anything we want.  As an alternate, I can participate in everything except an official voting.  If there's something that needs to be voted on between us, like if someone wants to talk to a witness, we can vote to see if  the majority thinks it is something we should do but I won't be able to vote when it comes time to decide if there's enough evidence to go to court.  I'm thinking of yelling ROAD TRIP every once in a while and suggesting we visit a crime scene :o) 

Yes, I will get paid but the joke of the day was, don't spend it all in one place!  This from the judge and DA.  It will be $9.00 for the first 3 sessions, mileage and free parking (don't forget the coffee and bagels) then $25.00 for each session after that.  They take some time off for holidays, most of Dec. and then vacation during the Summer.  There might be times we have to stay longer but then again, there's times where we might only be there a few hours.  We could be working on more than one case at a time, too.  It's criminal court, so it's anything from fraud to murder, we just won't know until the time comes.

I've decided this sounds really interesting and I'm going to make the best of it!  Can you imagine me sitting still for hours?  And actually paying attention?  I have the attention span of a flea!

That's my short story!  Starting in Sept. I can let you know how the process works!  See if you think it's interesting too.

Hope I answered all your questions!
Have a great weekend,


Doodle said...

OMG, I think you will finding some very interesting stories as you go your merry way with this. You should have asked if you could bring paper to roll or stuff to knit. haha

Glad you're having a good attitude about it all. Have some fun with it, and we'll be waiting for updates here as time goes on.

Now, my only question is: you gonna go buy some more pants or just keep cleaning the ones you got? (hehe)

VintageVendor said...

I'm proud of you for doing your civic duty and your great attitude in doing so. You better check out sales at Bon Tons because you are going to need some new slacks. :o)

What does ilyhole stand for?

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Thank you for doing your job with such a great sense of humor !

peppercorns said...

I have to tell you I enjoyed this short story, ilyhole. You really should have been a writer.

I do agree though, go buy yourself a couple more pairs of slacks. LOL