Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Happy Juror Appreciation Week to me! I was summoned for jury duty for a "special case" this week. "Special" is legalese for "you can't get out of it or get a postponement." I made the trek to San Bernardino County Courthouse in lovely San Bernardino, CA today. Normally I'm summoned to the courthouse more close to home...as in only three miles away...but not for the "special" case.

I've served on a jury in the past, as an alternate. Alternate is legalese for "you get to sit in and take notes like everyone else, but you most likely won't be involved in the deliberation unless another juror gets violently ill or blabs about the case so thanks for coming." Some things have changed. Now, in the juror waiting room, you get to watch a snazzy video that highlights all of the wonderful things the State of California (self-proclaimed in the video as "The Best State in the Union"...to which I wanted to stand and say, "I object, Your Honor" until I realized there was no judge present). After some nature shots, we get to see criminals in handcuffs, cops on the beat and the narration says "but we sometimes have disputes." Disputes? Hilarious. Sometimes? Ummm...

The video ended and we were entertained by Judge Garza, who thanked us for coming in during "Juror Appreciation Week" a.k.a. JAW (I got a pen). I was originally planning on coming in last week. When I heard that this was JAW, I knew I had to come in this week...either that, or my summons told me to come in this week. Interestingly enough, my wife mentioned that a woman we know was summoned for the same trial, reported yesterday, and had to stay until 4:00 p.m. (SPOILER ALERT!) I went in today and was released by 2:00 p.m. Apparently my skills were not needed this time, so I got my pink slip (a good thing here, a bad thing at the employment office), and returned home happy in knowing that, for all intents and purposes, this could very well have been my last trip to a courthouse in California (in this capacity).

I'm not sure about the name of the court video, but in true California style, there were about five minutes of credits at the end. I've never seen something like that have the credits. I think they wanted us to know that no incarcerated individuals, although available, were harmed in the production of the movie. Best quote from the show (referring to jury service): "It wasn't bad at all. I'd do it again." (Meanwhile, the woman in front of me rubs her Rosary beads and mumbles something about God not picking her.)

Happy JAW to all, and to all a good case!

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