Random & Incoherent
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  To be chosen or to be sent home
Due the fact that I was not chosen on Monday to be on the jury for the case of the rowdy redneck bar fight, I was instructed to return on Wednesday for a second round of selection.

I arrived at the courthouse about 8:50 A.M., walked through the metal detector (setting it off, but explained to the old bailiff that I was there for jury duty and he waved me through), signed in at the reception area and was directed to wait in the hallway. From there we were shuttled into a conference room down one of the back hallways of the courthouse. There were about 24 other folks in this conference room with me, which was only about an 8' x 25' box with one long table in the middle and the surrounding walls lined with very uncomfortable chairs. Had it been a 10 minute wait they would not have been that bead, but due to the fact that we had been sitting there like a can full of sardines for an hour, they weren't what you would call plush.

Justice is anything but swift.

1 hour and 5 minutes into my new life as a sardine, a clerk pokes her head into the room to see how many people would like coffee. 1 hour and 5 minutes of waiting before we were even asked if we wanted coffee, let alone told anything about the day's proceedings.

Before the coffee has even arrived, another clerk pokes into the room and starts calling out numbers. The people to which the numbers correspond are shuttled out into the hall for round one of today's selection process. This leaves 9 of us in the conference room.

unfortunately, out of the remaining 9, one woman felt the need to speak for the next hour. Not anything of any significance, but rather to hear the sound of her own voice. I can only imagine that this woman has an issue dealing with silence. I mean, how bad do you need attention that you are willing to read aloud from the newspaper inserts the price of paint at the local Home Depot?

Due to her constant blabbering I did learn a few things about my fellow juror. She was a former professional painter. She does not use any tape, drop cloth, or rollers. She sticks to a simple brush and a damp paper towel. She also confessed to not being able to lift a five gallon bucket of paint.

Well good, now I can die happy with this newfound knowledge.

Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

I wanted to take the very pen that I was writing with and stab her in the eye. Unfortunately, I know this would only convince her to make more noise, and that's something I'm trying to avoid. On the upside, due to the extremely close proximity of the courthouse, maybe they can try my case in less than a week and I can enjoy the silence of solitary confinement.

Her phone rings. She states, out loud, that she does not know who it is that is calling her. A wave of concern washes over me until I realize that I don't care! And neither does anyone else in the room, as is evident by the cumulative rolling of the eyes.

At 11:30, those of us remaining are finally cattle prodded into the court room and into the jury box. It is finally our turn to be asked questions to try and get out of jury duty. My standard response of "death penalty" is ready and waiting.

This is the case of the woman caught with Mary Jane.
We are asked questions about negative experiences with police officers, to which I raise my hand, stating that up to this point in my life I have yet to have a positive experience, and give them an example of one of the many times I have been pulled over and searched while waiting on the drug dog to sniff my car. We are asked if we have ever indulged in the smoking of cannabis. The painter lady states that she has puffed previously, as do I. We are the only 2 out of 14 that make this claim. Somehow, I think that some of my fellow jurors were lying. Especially dreadlocks one row down from me.

For whatever reason, neither the defense nor the prosecution liked my answers well enough to keep me for the trial.

And so I return home, 50 dollars of my tax money back in my pocket, and the equivalent of bed sores on my ass from sitting in those uncomfortable office chairs for 4 hours.

I now consider myself a patriot.
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Location: Salisbury, North Carolina, United States

Kevin O'Mellan (Whittington Appraisals): Appraiser in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina

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