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Friday, April 25th, 2008

Jury Duty

So they did have wi-fi at the courthouse.. for the small fee of 6 bucks a day!  Believe me, I shelled out the cash because I like to make sure that I don’t have any new email like 10 or 11 times a day.  The good news is that I learned a lot today and will never fear jury duty again.  

I arrived at 8:15 as instructed and took my seat in the jury waiting room.  The staff it surprisingly nice and handle their duties with lighthearted humor.. what’s up with happy civil servants?  It’s not very plush but they showed a movie and even though it was a crappy one it was an acceptable distraction.  I did learn later that the quiet room was a lot more comfortable and had abundant electrical outlets for charging things.  

I wasn’t called until about 11:30.  They herded us all into the courtroom where we had to rise one at a time so that counsel could look us over.  It was very livestock at the state fair like.  Then the judge asked a bunch of questions to evaluate whether or not you thought you could be an impartial juror.  He also asked if you thought serving would be a hardship.  Initially I thought that the prospect of finding childcare for several days would pose a hardship but when I got into the courtroom and saw the defendants and looked around at the other jurors I got to thinking maybe I do need to serve on this jury.  I did tell the judge that I have exams and that I knew his intern from school to which he responded, thank you and told me to go park it.  In the end my number wasn’t called so my duty was fulfilled by just showing up today.  It was really interesting to watch the attorneys go through the jurors whose numbers were called to see which ones they objected to.  It might seem obvious but you can look at the defendants and then look at the jurors and figure out in a matter of seconds who’s going home and who’s not.  The prosecution will strike anyone who they think will be overly sympathetic, in this case anyone who was too young and/or ‘too black’ was stricken.  The defense took the other extreme striking all the bluehairs and blue collar looking white guys.  Anyone who looked young, hip and/or liberal was in it for the long haul.  The only attorney in the crowd was released too, I don’t think it was any mistake that he wore his best khaki/blue blazer combo today, feigning shock when he was asked to sit down.  

We didn’t get to eat lunch until almost 2 o’clock a few more minutes and they would have had to scrape me off the bench.  My 15 bucks was plenty to cover lunch at Suzie’s Soba.  I’ve heard good things about the location in Hampden and we just happened upon the one downtown by chance.  The spring rolls were better than any I’ve had in a long time.  As good or better than taste of home on U street!  Homemade limeade was on the house for jurors too so that was a nice perk.  

I was pleasantly surprised to arrive and find a familiar face was also called to serve today.  I ran into a woman we know from the library and from a neighborhood playgroup.  It was nice to have someone to have lunch with.  Ironically, we would have otherwise seen each other at the library this morning.  Ben took Chase to the library since I couldn’t and I felt good that she got to go because we missed last week too for her doctor’s appointment.  

Thanks for all your kind words about getting through the semester.  I have not been focussed on the fact that I still have exams.  I have to give an oral argument bright and early tomorrow morning for which I am not prepared and at this point never will be.  I look forward to putting it behind me even if it’s painful and awkward to get through.  It’s causing me more stress to have it hanging over my head than any exam ever could.  The other event on the horizon this weekend is the Feist concert!  I can’t wait, I listened to both albums today to get in the mood.  

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