Today was a big day. Not just for me, but for everyone who cares about Bernie Madoff or Tanya Harding or whether R. Kelly actually urinated on a teenager.
I have been formally selected for consideration as a sworn juror. It is my civic duty. It is my distinct honor. I will not let the financial hardship (which has been described as impossible to prove), my desire to idle about como un huevon nor my dislike for public services lobbies nor the possible presence of morbidly obese people keep me away.
I’m taking my potential service very seriously. It’s not often my country calls on me. I’ve done some research. California, according to the website, is the greatest state in the union, but despite that fact there’s apparently a great deal of crime. This is why justice and/or trials exist. This is why I have been called upon to serve my state. So I can face the judge, defense, defendant, and the audience and yell from the top of my lungs, “The jury finds the defendant guilty on all counts, your Honor!”
Also, according to the website, we have the best justice system in the world. Which is why our prisons, excuse me Corrections Facilities, are so full. No one gets away! America’s Most Wanted. We will hunt you down, beat you down, then grease you up and offer you to the boys in the yard. Justice. Democracy. Civic duty. California. Free hair cuts.
As a future juror, I’m told I don’t need any prior knowledge of the law. I just need to be impartial…which strikes me as an impossible request. How, after a lifetime of experiences and diverse interactions such as failed attempts at eating lengua tacos, parking tickets, sunburns and misinterpreting everything that Sartre ever wrote—how am I supposed to be impartial?
A former juror says, “It’s not so much about not having a bias but keeping an open mind.” Now that might not be in the Constitution, but it is in the orientation video, which is mandatory viewing. The same cannot be said for any documents our justice system draws from. Looks like we’ll just have to listen to the boys in Brooks Brothers and use what the original T. Paine called “Common Sense.”
Fact: As a sworn juror, I’m not allowed to talk to anyone about the case.
If I am selected this will be very difficult because the only perk of participating on a jury is they have free wi-fi, which jurors are encouraged to use. Apparently, there’s a lot of down time.
It will be my responsibility to use the internet, but not update my Facebook status to declare: Serving on a jury about this pharmaceutical sales guy who ALLEGEDLY got hopped up on his own products and drove off a cliff because he thought he could fly. Now his wife is trying to sue “Big Pharma” so her kids can be more successful than their father by getting an Ivy League education and a nice trust fund since dad—before he offed himself—blew the family nest egg on breast implants for his underage Thai girlfriend and a Cobra for himself. Who did this guy think he ALLEGEDLY was—John Edwards?
I’m also not allowed to go to the scene of the crime to do my own research.
In the orientation video I learned that it’s a deep and fulfilling experience to serve on a jury. Many jurors remain friends after sending a meth addicted fourteen-year-old cholito to deathrow for shooting a mailman who he mistook for a member of the Crips.
As a send-off, I’ll quote the orientation video, “Remember today’s juror could be tomorrow’s litigant, defendant, or just another exotic dancer trying to make it in America! Thank you for watching and thank you for…”