Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Duty


So quick story. I was summoned for jury duty service right before my MOrlando vacation, so I postponed it to this past week.

Including this one, I have been summoned 4 times total. My first was in Pomona, which incidentally also came about before my first ever Florida trip. That time, I got called into the courthouse, but simply sat in the selection pool and never made it to the jury box. Luckily I was excused and enjoyed Florida.

The second and third summons were from Norwalk. For both those times, I called in to find out if I had to actually show up, but they never needed me. So I was automatically excused at the end of the week.

This time, it was back to Pomona. So I called in last week on Friday night and told not to report Monday. Called Monday night and told not to report Tuesday. Called Tuesday night and told not to report Wednesday. Things were looking good.

Lakers Finals excitement was heating up and I drew up plans for co-workers to watch the game at the heart of the Lakers, LA Live (next to Staples Center). I invited all the people and then on Thursday morning drove the hour drive from Corona to Los Angeles.

Listening to the radio, a report comes in about Rhianna and some legal issue and it pops into my head: I DIDN'T CALL LAST NIGHT!

Figuring I'd be excused for yet another day (what are the chances?), I calmed myself and asked Timotei to dial the jury hotline. He put me on speakerphone.

"Please report for jury duty at 8:00AM."

My head sank as low beneath my shoulders as they've ever sank before. I was devastated, annoyed, angry, shocked, hungry, pissed. Of all days! OF ALL EFFING DAYS!

Already in Los Angeles, I dropped Timotei off at work and had one hour to race back to Pomona. Luckily there was no traffic, so I flew down the 60 in 15 minutes (record time). Had plenty of time to take a dump and jump on their internet to tweet about my so-far shizzy morning (not at the same time of course).

My group was not called down to the courtroom until after lunch. When we finally got called in, the first group of 18 out of our selection pool of 55 were called for questioning. I was not among them. The rest of the day consisted of telling us about the case (robbery and attempted murder charges) and talking to the prospective jurors.

I've just learned one of my biggest pet peeves. People lying their asses off to try to get out of serving jury duty. You know the judge has heard all the excuses in the book, but people still dish them out. Scared of retaliation. Forty year old trauma from shotgun incident. Friend of a friend's home invasion robbery scare. Guilty bias of "if he was arrested he must be guilty." Obessive Compulsive Disorder has triggered paranoia. Auditing profession has geared my instincts to latch on to guilty-first verdict.

My eyes were tired from rolling over so much. But long first half of the story short, the attorneys hadn't even began tossing jurors off the trial, so proceedings were postponed till the next day.

That night I drove back to Los Angeles to meet up with the co-workers for what became the BEST Laker game ever! Lakers down by 5 in the last minute. Gasol puts down 2. Fish throws an amazing 3 to tie the game with 4 seconds remaining. Lakers win in overtime! Yardhouse was insane.

Next morning, my voice was gone from all the screaming and I was coughing up a lung. Dragged my ass out of bed and drove to the courthouse. They start the day's proceedings half an hour late.

But we just picked it back up where we left off. Attorneys on both sides tossed jurors out and they called more to replace them. Three times they called more jurors to the jury box and lucky as I am, my juror ID was never called! Could this be a repeat of the previous Pomona summons?

From 9:30AM to 11:45AM, we heard excuse after excuse and finally the attorneys were both satisfied. At the end, there were only around 15 of us left unchosen, unwanted, and giddy. After giving the final jury a round of applause for their service, we were excused! I dodged it again!

Truth be told, I wouldn't have minded serving this time. The judge was really funny and nice and the attorneys were charming. But I figure attorneys want to win over the jury in the first place, so they would always try to charm the pants off the jurors.

Anyway, after being excused, I got a $5 haircut from a nearby Hair Styling School and then ate a beautiful lunch at the Pomona Bakery Co.

So in the end, the Lakers are about to win their 15th Championship title, Kobe about to win his fourth ring, Phil Jackson about to win his 10th coaching championship, and I just avoided jury duty four straight times in 10 years.

Continuing my lucky jury duty streak,