How I got OUT of it ... Writer's Cramp Co-Winner!
|Jury Duty - Phooey! I've been summoned approximately twice in my 67 years. And I'm here to tell you, all this "great honor" stuff is a lot of baloney!
My first time, the entire group of us was sent home after around six hours of detention against our will. It took them that long to unanimously determine our services would not be required after all. I don't remember what the reason was. Maybe nobody gave us one. What I do recall is, on the way out, someone presented each of us with a ten dollar bill, along with a "thanks" for our trouble. Big deal, eh?
My parking tab alone was over twenty dollars. Plus, I'd missed a day of work. The only good thing about this experience was, I'd gotten my one-and-only Jury Duty thingy over and done with. For the rest of my life! I mean … they wouldn't summon me a second time? Would they?
The way I figured it, although I didn't actually serve on a Jury per se, I obeyed the summons at least. They had no way of knowing I would've jumped at any chance to get out of it. Ergo and to wit: I fulfilled my civic obligation. And in so doing, Your Honor, sir … I submit that I set myself a pretty good precedent for not having to do it again. Case (technically) closed.
Imagine my chagrin circa ten years later, when I received my second summons.
This time around, my fellow prospective jurors and I were told there was indeed going to be a trial. They expected it would last about two weeks. And so yes, twelve proud citizens would be chosen to sit on the Jury. It wasn't long before all forty or fifty of us were escorted from the waiting room to the Courtroom.
Appeared just like on TV, it did. Not only that, but by the looks of things, they were all set up to start the trial that very morning! The judge was there. The lawyers were there. The accused was there … and if you ask me, he looked guilty as hell - for doin' whatever it was The Crown said he'd done! The only thing missing, was the Jury. In the box, I mean.
Whilst in the waiting room, the Bailiff had taken a list of names of those of us who thought we had credible evidence as to why we could not, or should not serve on a Jury of the Defendant's peers. She gave this list to the Judge, as we all took a seat in the Spectator Gallery to the Judges left, and in front of the Jury Box. My name was on the list because I was going to use my hearing problem as proof positive I'd make a lousy Juror.
When came my turn to approach the Bench, I told His Honor all about my (very loud) tinnitus. As well as how my ears can't be trusted to follow conversation properly. At one moment, the speaker's words can be clear. Then suddenly I'm listening to pure gibberish. And no, I'm not just referring to when Donald Trump is giving an off-the-cuff speech. This actually is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God. Except, nobody asked me to swear on the Bible. Probably cuz I've got an honest face, eh?
His body language told me he was buying my story. And I swear to you what I thought I heard him say next was, "Very well. You're excused." Which I took to mean that I was free to walk straight out of the Courtroom. So, that's what I did!
I made it as far as the elevator, when the Bailiff caught up to me, and broke the bad news that I was expected back in the Courtroom. I remember it was a long and embarrassing walk to my seat, because everyone was looking at me. Including the murderer. But one thing's for certain - I sure proved I wasn't LYING about my ears, eh?
I must have sat there for at least another hour-and-a-half, while the Jury selection process unfolded before my eyes. Only after the new Jury had been sworn in, and a Foreman elected, was the rest of us rejects allowed to go home.
Blimey! What an ordeal! But that was ten years ago. It's long since over and done with. And most likely, for the rest of my life. Because ... surely they wouldn't summon me a third time?