Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jury Duty

I've spent the past week reading about Soviet Gulags and Shalamov and thoroughly enjoying it, so I haven't had much time to do anything else.

I did, however, have a small conniption fit when I was summoned for jury duty AGAIN.

Here's the thing.  I was summoned to serve on a grand jury about ten years ago.  I went, I was picked.  I spent every Friday for an entire summer sitting on a grand jury: the term of service was 12 weeks.  I had to argue to be let off because they wanted to extend my term of service past that time--my classes were starting, so I put my foot down.

I did my civic duty.

Because I did, I couldn't be summoned for petit juror service for a period of three years.  I was summoned anyway.  I sent them a notice indicating that I had served within the past three years, so they let me off.

About two months after my three-year grace period was up, I was summoned again.  I didn't have to report.

I was recently summoned again.

I'm sorry, but I think the whole "juror selection is a random process and each eligible individual has the same chance of being picked" is a load of hogwash.  I couldn't play the lottery and experience odds like this, that's for sure.

I requested a deferral, and got it.  I'll be a reasonable citizen this time around and report (AGAIN), but as God is my witness, if I get summoned for jury duty AGAIN after this, I'm going to point out to them that what they call "random" is clearly NOT.

In a decade, I have now been summoned 4 times, and served once.  I didn't even live in the state for a year during that time, and I wasn't a homeowner or a registered voter for about 4 of those years.  Methinks something's fishy.

There have to be a few people in my county who aren't over the age of 75 and convicted felons.  There just have to be.  

The irony is, according to my friends who are attorneys, I have a 0% chance of being picked if I actually do have to report.  No one wants a frickin' ENGLISH professor on a jury.

As one friend put it, "Even if the prosecution wanted you, the defense would object."  Apparently, lawyers are typically reluctant to put people who think critically or function in leadership positions on a jury, for fear they'll lead the jury in a particular direction.

So I'm working on putting that little annoyance behind me--until August, when I have to report.  

When I wasn't thinking about jury duty or Gulags, I spent the week picking strawberries, broccoli, and spinach at the nearby farm.

This meant that I was able to make a mean little batch of broccoli cheddar soup with fresh broccoli today, to celebrate the fact that I had taken a five-mile walk (to celebrate the fact that it was no longer raining).

That takes the edge off of things.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."