Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

5/17/2007

My obligatory jury duty rant

Filed under: — stan @ 7:22 pm

So, I’ve just spent the last two days on jury duty. At least this time I didn’t have to drive my car downtown. I rode my bike to the station and took the train, which is a pleasant ride. And at lunchtime I went and saw Los Angeles City Hall. I’d been on a tour there back in ‘99 when they were doing the earthquake retrofit on it, so I was curious to see how it turned out. It looked much nicer with the scaffolding gone and the walls rebuilt. Sadly, since they don’t allow cameras in the courthouse, all I have is crappy phone-camera pictures.

There were also a lot of TV crews hanging around there for the Phil Spector trial, or ‘The Spectorcle’ as I heard some people in the elevator refer to it. This was going on down the hall from the courtroom I ended up in, so we all had to go through a double-layer of metal detectors and X-ray machines. And they insisted that I leave my bicycle pump at the guard desk downstairs. They thought it could somehow be used as a weapon. I whacked a dog on the snout with it once.

And the courtroom I was put in was Room 101. Of course, the first thing I thought of was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Room 101 was where the Thought Police took you when torture didn’t work and they wanted to break you by making you meet your deepest fear. Seemed appropriate.

This is Nth time I’ve done this, and it’s the same every time. I go in. I get put in the box. They ask me the Five Questions:

  • Place of residence
  • Occupation
  • Marital status
  • Occupation of spouse
  • Previous jury experience

Then they throw me out. I’m kind of getting a complex about it. I’ve asked a lot of lawyers about this. Nobody seems to have a good idea why this is so. For some reason, they just don’t like me.

On the other hand, I’m not exactly excited by the prospect of sitting on a jury, but still, it’s weird that they reject me so consistently. They never ask me any questions about my attitudes about things or anything. I even saw one of the attorneys make a mark on the post-it for my seat right after I sat down. Even before the Five Questions. So it seemed clear that something about my appearance put him off. Back when I took the ‘How to Perform Stand-Up Comedy’ class at UCLA, the consensus in the class was that I looked like the kind of guy who pays his bills on time. What the hell?

My fondest wish would be that the jury duty summons that comes in the mail would have a little checkbox on it like this:

4 Responses to “My obligatory jury duty rant”

  1. Gene Says:

    Excellent idea Stan. I get to go next month. I can hardly wait.

  2. Dave Says:

    you know.. i’ve wondered the same thing. Supposedly people are entitled to a “jury of their peers”, whatever that means. If you follow that line of thinking, the more “different” you are than the defendant, the lower the likelihood of getting chosen. So maybe you’re just different =)

  3. Karen Says:

    Well…as you KNOW they don’t like me either – and I even look Like Suburban Sokker Mom and all!

    Must be the shadow of the Thought Police that haunts me like a halo and make them refuse me jury service. *wink*

  4. Jodi Says:

    I always get kicked off too, which is fine because my job only pays for a few days and I don’t want to use my vacation time for it!

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