Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dreaded Day

I was at the courthouse at 7:50 in the morning; went through security, just like at airports, without any hitch. There were already a handful of people waiting by the jury assembly room, which at this time was still locked. In a few minutes one of the staff came to open the door and we all walked in. I took one of the second row seats...I don't like sitting in the front row. It must have something to do when I was in school, where I don't want the teacher to see me right away.

We were supposed to be there at no later than 8:15 AM. So, there we were sitting, waiting for our fate. By 8:30 the guy next to me started complaining. He wasn't happy to be there, he has other things to do, he said. Sure. I'm not happy either, but I don't want to be fined $1,500.00 for not showing up. The guy left for a while to get something to eat. Me, I didn't have a decent breakfast. I tried eating 1 1/2 piece of raisin bread toast, but I couldn't eat most of it, though I tried stuffing them in my mouth. They were tasteless. A little before 9:00 a staff showed up and welcomed all of us unwilling participants. She explained everything to us, though most of it was in the handbook, but she did it more detailed, down to the places where we could get our lunch, enumerating the names and at which corner we could find them. A judge came to the room to welcome us and gave us a pep talk. He sounded and talked just like Robert Shapiro. He understood how we felt about the whole thing, but he reminded us that it is what makes this country great; that it is our moral duty to participate in the justice system; that if we try to dodge it and go to another state, it is the same; and the only way to escape from it is not to be here in this country. He said further that we are all immigrants or of immigrant ancestry.

After all that talk, we were given our badge holders, handbooks, parking permits, and we surrendered our summons. We were instructed to wear our badges at all times, visibly on our chest, in any part of the building. It's a way for the lawyers to identify us as jurors. The reason for that is there are times the lawyers discuss cases out of the courtroom and they are not supposed to let jurors hear them. So, if they see a juror nearby them they quit discussing the case. If a juror happens to hear them the case will be dismissed. All cases in the courthouse are criminal in nature. Civil cases are heard in another jurisdiction.

When all was said and done, we waited...and waited...and waited. It was getting close to 12:00 noon. I was praying already that they would let us go...send us home. But by 11:45 a staff started calling names for the jury panel. I waited with apprehension praying that my name won't be called. Then my heart skipped a bit when I thought it was my name, but it was not. Oh, I heaved a sigh of relief. But she went on to call some more names...then...my name came out of the speaker loud and clear. "Here," I called back.

We were instructed to go to the 3rd floor, Dept. G. So the 50 or so people filed out of the room to the upper floor. There we waited at the hallway near the courtroom, and in a few minutes a court clerk let us in. We sat down and the judge greeted us. We barely spoke...it sounded more like a whimper, and the judge said, "You can do better than that." So we all replied in unison in a much louder voice. He understood our feeling...that we were not happy to be there.

Finally, I saw what was inside that very courtroom. It's unlike the ones we usually see on TV. The jury seats were metal padded foldable ones, and the spectators', were spring-loaded to fold automatically, and were made of plastic. They were cold to sit on; not comfortable. The judge, of course, had the best seat in the room--swivel, leather upholstery, high back with arms.

We were each given questionnaires to fill up at home, and were instructed to return the next day at 10:15 AM. I'm in, but still praying to be dismissed, hoping that they get the 12 jurors and 2 alternates before they get to my name.

I had lunch then headed home; I was so tired and sleepy I went to bed and took a nap.

16 comments:

nini said...

You have your ace card with you again lady m!!

I'm glad for you as well! I have never met a single being who cherished the thought of performing this duty - stressful indeed.

nini

tina said...

wow. a juror? amazing.i only read about them in books and see them in movies (been watching too much courtroom drama this year hehe).

well.. that could be boring if the case is boring. hehehe

Mari said...

nini, a card up my sleeve. LOL

A lot of people don't like jury service, but there are a handful of them who really are eager to serve. My husband enjoyed his 2-time jury duty. He said he'd rather be there than at work, which is more stressful. LOL

Thanks for dropping a line.

tina, not exactly a juror, but a would-be juror, a candidate, though I'm not running for it. LOL

Thanks for your comment.

cat said...

must be a day to see other's sulky faces, hehehe

whatever your latest entry is, hopefully it goes well and you're ok Mari.

cat said...

Must be a day to see others' sulky faces, hehehe.

seriously, whatever the outcome of this jury service, hope it goes well(means hindi ka napili) and your doing ok.

I'll read your latest entry later, workmode muna.

vk said...

Hello Mari,

While reading your post, I feel that I am reading the books-crime of John Grisham.....very thrilling and interesting.....

My mind-thought was already skipping the story....that what I always do, because I can’t wait what is the end or the result of the story, I read, the end or the 2-3rd chapter- from end.....hehehehe

Reading your post here, I feel that what I have seen in the movies-crimes stories....how I will explain.....heheheheh

Thank you very much for sharing your story....you are not only an artist, a writer pa.......

JMom said...

ah, ok I get the badge thing now :) hehe! can you tell I haven't served yet?

Glad to hear you're through with your duty.

Mari said...

cat, true most have sulky faces, but a small percentage really want to serve...very rare.

I went through it and it was a good experience, just to be out there and see how the whole thing works. Kahit di napiling juror talaga. Maybe the next time I'll be right there doing it. Ugh.

Thanks for your comments.

vk, I aroused a lot of people's interest on this subject, it wasn't boring after all.

Oy, one of my favorite authors, John Grisham. I have read a lot of his books, but I never cheat...I read all the way to the end. Madaya ka, ah. he he he

Try Dominick Dunne's books. They're good too...some crime-drama novels based on real life.

Thanks for visiting.

jmom, yeah, it shows. LOL

It's all over.

Thanks for your comment.

nona said...

Wow...I salute you Mari, great! ang laki ng paghanga ko sa mga juror.
And congrats you're through with your duty, I'm sure it's not an easy task.

Mari said...

Ahem. LOL...thanks, nona. Salamat naman at nagkapanahon kang bumisita ngayon.

Have a great weekend.

Pepe said...

Thanks for the comment Mari....! You mean " Piracy? " No, i was just being challenged at work last monday so i took the challenge he-he....! I know the basics of making wine, and there's really no rocket science needed actually, it's a straight-forward procedure.... Homemade wine in australia is legal as long as it doesn't hit the market without any proper paper thingies.... Anyone can start their own winery i think, as long as you got what it takes to do so, and you don't copy someone else's titles....! Europeans, specially italian communities here makes their own wines, they even have this small versions of machineries in their backyards that can do 20-50 liters in one go.... So, making 2-5 bottles shouldn't really make me worry that much i suppose isn't it he-he....! =D

Mari said...

pepe, I used the wrong word, it should've been moonshine. Piracy or bootlegging is copying or stealing someones work. Isn't it? If it's for your own consumption, I'm sure it's within legal boundaries. Home brewing or wine making is also done here, and like you said as long as it doesn't hit the market it's okay.

You know the wine coolers that came out during the 80s? It was started by a guy at his home. Then he marketed it, but eventually sold the business to a big corporation. He couldn't handle it; too much for him. Other big wine makers cloned his coolers.

Pepe said...

No i'm not offended by that Mari, actually it opened-up my mind that in some other parts of the globe pala ay pwedeng maging serious offense ito....! I'm just lucky that it's not in australia.... =)

Yeah, thompson seedless will make a good white wine.... They're not so juice though, actually they are the sultana or raisins (pasas) variety.... But can be a good white if properly ripened, if not still a good dry white wine.... Salamat Mari....! =D

the coolers....! They're good, i've tried them before but they're not really for men aren't they....? Maybe they are too, i just saw more women drinking them that's why.... Oo, maybe the guy was lack of funding that's why the offer got so tempting that he gaved it all up na lang....! =)

Mari said...

pepe, it's good to know that you're not slighted and that our discussion is civil. What I like about this group of bloggers that I got into is that they're not antagonistic and egotistic...ang babait. We may differ in opinion but we are not combative.

There are times maybe that it's better to buy a bottle or 2 of wine than making it, going through all the hassle of it. Although there's the feeling of satisfaction if you've done it yourself. Right? I've read recently that there's a glut of wine since a lot of countries are now into wine making. Unlike before where France was the major producer of wine. Nowadays Australia, U.S., and other countries are producing their own wine. And more competition makes the price go down.

Wine coolers are mild so women prefer them. There's another kind of wine that came out recently. I don't know exactly what it's called but they are fruity in flavor and somewhat sweet. I like them, but my husband doesn't because of it's sweetness.

Thanks again for your visit.

vk said...

Try Dominick Dunne's books. They're good too...some crime-drama novels based on real life.


Thanks for this, I try it....
But J.Grisham, gusto ko kasi, libre naman ako, kasi si bernie buy it, then I can read too....lol

Sorry, I read in your reply to pepe....about the wine....it is not the Ice Wine or Beeren auslese--- (Berries selects)....ekh german ito, i don´t know in english...

This is very expensive and sweet, they harvest the grapes when it is frozen....

By the way, we are near some wine farm here....in my latest post, that place is Koblenz....they have a grapes farm...I mean that place is full of grapes farm....

The pics. their I post is the german eck……parang yon sa Titanic….yon seeting nina sino ba yon actor and actress….lol….

Ok, thank you…..
ang daldal ko ano?----lol

Mari said...

vk, maganda nga ang mga libro ni John Grisham. I have most of his books: his very first one up to this last 2--The King of Torts and The Bleachers--I have them, but I have not the time to read them. Nakababad ako dito sa blog kasi. Ha ha ha.

There are some German wines here also, but I have not tried them yet. (I'm trying to minimize my wine drinking.) I'll check them when I go to the liquor store and let you know what we have here.

You live in a quiet suburban place then if there are a lot of vineyards there. Napa Valley here in California is the place where we have a lot of those vineyards. But this place is up north and will take several hours by car to get there. There is a new vineyard here near my place--about 10 - 15 minutes drive--but I have not gone there yet.

The actors in Titanic were Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet.

Thanks for coming, vk. I enjoy interacting with you.