Three weeks ago, I wrote about doing the publicity on the movie, Jury Duty. Well, now it appears that I might be living the real thing.
I got a summons for jury duty a couple of weeks ago. And today was the first official day.
The way it works in California is that if you don't get a trial on the first day, then your service is completed, You don't have to be "on call" for two weeks. Nothing is settled yet, but I have a feeling that I’ll end up on a jury. I did get called to a panel, where they try to trim the 40-50 people called down to 12 and the alternates. And I was also one of those questioned today in the first group of 24. My sense is that a person in the first group has a better chance of being selected for the trial, since once the lawyers settle on the jurors they're fine with, the others waiting are dismissed. They don't question everyone before deciding. Who knows, maybe there will be some things I said when questioned that one of the sides won’t want. But I’m guessing that I’ll be selected and am prepared to be.
Alas, it’s supposed to be a two-week trial, which is unfortunate. Without going into any details, from what little we were told about the case, it seems seems surprising that it's schedule for that long. But I will assume that there is more going on under the surface to require a lot of witnesses. But at least I was able to change my venue from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. The drive downtown is hellish, and if I had to do it every day, it would not be a treat. But Santa Monica is an easy drive, so I'm okay with that. And there are plenty of restaurants in the vicinity which helps, too.
Almost none of the prospective jurors want to be there for two weeks, of course, though several REALLY don't want to be there. A few were dropped by the judge, but a bunch were kept on, and they're not happy campers. (One woman runs her own one-person business, and also said she's a single mother with two kids at home. When the judge asked how old the children were, she said, "21 and 25." The judge did a double-take like a cartoon character. "How old??" She's still in the jury pool.) Another person worked briefly at the company being sued. It appears that he hated the place and was fired after two weeks. He said he didn't think he could give a fair judgement. I'm going to guess he'll be gone. And another person had a family business similar to the one being sued that went under because of a lawsuit similar to the one here. Though she wasn't involved with the business, and it was a long time ago, it was pretty clear that she was still pretty pissed off. I'm going to guess she won't be on the jury pool long. Me, I said that I had a lawyer friend who had a few instances of cases like this, but added that I could be fair. I was tempted to yell, "Hang 'em, hang 'em all!!!!," but I went for honesty. (As I did when the judge asked if I knew the details of those other cases. "Minutely," I said -- since my friend describes his cases in the most infinitesimal detail, complete with all the legal precedent upholding his arguments, that I'm almost ready to pass the bar.
And that's the news from Juror Land.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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