I’m at the Moultrie Courthouse today, fulfilling my civic duty. It’s not too bad. So far I’d say the experience is somewhat more entertaining than Jury Duty (starring Pauly Shore), but probably somewhat less entertaining than “Jury Duty”, an apparently still-running series in which luminaries liek Bruce Vilanch, Kevin Sorbo and Vanessa from The Cosby Show sit in judgment of ordinary Americans.
The worst part about all this is the lack of novelty: the DC internet community has been decimated by a wave of jury summonses over the past few months, totally undermining the anecdotal value of this experience. On the other hand, it’s not like there’s a ton of things to do as I sit here, waiting to be told to go sit somewhere else. Hence this blog post.
I was called into voire dire for a murder trial in a courtroom that had seemingly been designed by the same firm that built our nation’s system of bowling alleys (it will apparently soon be renovated to look more like a cheesy starship set). Things went pretty smoothly: I even managed not to crack up when the judge claimed that the crime occurred in a neighborhood called “Turkeyneck”.
I wasn’t removed during the initial round of juror elimination. I think I have to attribute this to my corduroy jacket: to prosecutors a jacket says that I’m rich enough to have no way to relate to the probably-poor defendant, while the defense sees its waling and immediately knows I’m beset by liberal guilt.
My obvious desirability as a juror (says the 29 year-old with the Xbox Live account) had me a little worried, in fact. I politely explained to the judge that actually I’d rather not spend all next week away from email and/or dealing with weighty moral issues; amazingly, he actually acceded, putting me near the bottom of the line of folks that gradually snaked its way into the jury box. And, sure enough, the court managed to find a full allotment of dutiful citizens/suckers before I was needed.
I’m back in the jurors’ lounge now, and my name has already been called again, but there’s apparently some question as to whether I’ll be needed. I certainly wouldn’t mind being excused: I’m a little wiped out. Having been informed by others that the courthouse had wifi, I’d sort of assumed that coffee would also be available — that’s how Maslow’s Hierarchy of White Collar Needs works, isn’t it? Sadly, this has not proven to be the case, and the other caffeine I’ve got in me came from some weak lunchtime tea at Chinatown Express. Here’s hoping I get to go home soon, or at least that the next trial is about something sufficiently unimportant that my sleepy incompetence will be forgivable.