If you’re a resident of the District, jury duty is one of the few things that the city can be relied upon. Every two years, almost to the day, I have been called to jury duty as a petit juror.
I know that the best entrance is the side entrance, directly to the family courts. This entrance is little used, and there is no line to get in. I know that the juror’s lounge is room 3130, and that there is a quiet room to the right of the lounge. I find it both comforting and disturbing that I know this, that I have this level of familiarity with a building that I visit once every two years.
Once ensconced at one of the desks (the one with the most easily accessed electrical outlet and phone jack), I found that I was most productive today. I managed to get to disc three of Justice League Season One. I was particularly amused by the first episode on the disc I started watching. The Green Lantern was on trial for destroying an entire planet. Fantastic way to start the day, considering my situation. I also learned that our VPN has too much overhead over a 26.4kbps dialup connection.
A few DVDs later, (Green Lantern: Not Guilty) I started making some headway into the highly recommended World War Z, the oral history of the undead conflict. Reading a book about zombies was only somewhat disconcerting, considering I was next door to a room full of people enthralled by My Big Fat Greek Wedding on television.
Lunch was announced at one thirty and I made my way past the stream of barely alive heading into one of four sandwich chains, all with lines out the door.
Four blocks from the courthouse, I found a coffee shop with no line, but had prepared food. I had lunch at the Juan Valdez Cafe, where I assume they pick “only the finest beans.” There I had an above-average-for-wrapped-in-plastic turkey sandwich and a coffee milkshake. I had the foresight to only drink two thirds of the milkshake, considering I ended up waiting in the courthouse for another two hours.
Around three forty-five, I was selected for a panel. I made my way to a courtroom on the third floor where I waited an additional twenty minutes. Then, the judge asked us to wait outside in the hallway for another ten minutes as he attended to another matter.
Once out in the hallway, I provided an older woman with a granola bar since she was hungry and I had brought half a dozen or so to tide me over the rest of the day.
Then we were allowed back into the courtroom where I waited another twenty minutes. For fifteen of those minutes, I listened to the woman next to me mumble over and over as she studied a piece of paper.
On it was written, “conscientious objector.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she was pronouncing “conscientious” wrong.
Then, it was my turn to be in front of the judge, where I was faced with an important question:
“Is there any reason whatsoever, that would prevent you from being impartial in this case.”
As I looked over the prosecution (two attractive blonde women in their late twenties who looked extremely smart in their suits) and the defense, (two older, grey haired gentlemen with hair coming out of their ears) only one sentence came to mind.
“Yes your honor, and that would be because the prosecution is so damn hot.”
This sentence would of course be followed up by the eyebrow raise and the sideways glance. Maybe the mouth click, I don’t know.
Thankfully, the sentence that actually came out of my mouth was, “No your honor.”
Update: After all this, the judge decided that it was too late in the day and they were just going to select another jury tomorrow. We were all dismissed, having done our duty for “one day or one trial.”