Jury Distaste

The entire time I was going through jury duty the one thing I wanted to do most was share every little detail about it. Not being able to talk about any of it only made that desire more profound. Plus everyone was so damn curious about the whole affair. It was quite a torturous situation to go through. And so I expected that the minute I was free and clear of any obligations to keep things to myself I’d be chattering everyone’s ears off about my thrilling adventures and flooding this blog with intriguing posts.

Here it is more than a week later and I find that it’s just about the last thing I want to dwell on. Part of me is still somewhat burnt out by the deliberation and trying to think beyond that is mentally exhausting such that I can’t even find motivation to prattle on about the more amusing aspects of my experience.

If I had to use one word to describe my service I’d say it was distasteful. I have a new understanding of the judicial system or perhaps it’s more accurate to say my lack of faith in it has reached a new low. I always knew it was a flawed system, but it’s the one we have and I respect that to the same extent I respect any of our laws whether I personally agree with them or not. None of that has changed, but I do see how utterly powerless the defendant is even though the law is on their side. I don’t ever want to be in that situation. I feel terribly cynical about the whole thing and I am not comforted by this fact.

Court cases are also nothing like I imagined. I realize now shows like Law & Order are more “crime fantasy” than “crime fiction.” I was never much a fan of the genre to begin with but now the very thought of reading a John Grisham novel or sitting through Runaway Jury makes my stomach turn. In truth, trials are hardly dramatic or even sort of interesting; they’re long and repetitive. If you’re lucky now and again there will be a tidbit of something new mixed in with the endless repetition. Of course, that happens so infrequently that by the time you realize there was something new you probably missed most of that information. Also, it’s not really about the facts1 and more about arguing semantics. Literally there was an entire afternoon spent trying to determine whether a person ran or walked after someone else. Yes, it was exactly as thrilling as you’d expect and no, I’m not exaggerating.

Oh, yeah, it’s also really boring. I don’t mean boring like sitting in the waiting room before your doctor’s appointment. I don’t mean boring like a meeting at work that manages to accomplish nothing. This is a boredom that transcends all other types of boredom. It’s a level of boredom that truly needs a word of its own. Honestly, I used to think I knew what boring was. I thought I had even experienced boredom a fair number of times in my life prior to jury service. I couldn’t possibly have been more wrong. See, the difference between all those other things we call “boring” and jury duty is an absence of activity. In any other situation that you might be bored in there is something to do even if that thing isn’t particularly interesting. Being bored as a juror does not come with that. It is pure mind-numbing boredom and nothing more.

That wouldn’t even be so unbearable if you had some idea of how long you’d be subjected to the engaging task of sitting around and waiting. We were told to arrive by such-and-such time and hours later we would still be waiting to go into the courtroom. Better yet we would have an allotted amount of time for a break and then spend at least that same amount in the jury room once we returned. Perhaps if we knew it was actually a three hour lunch we could have accomplished something, but it was always so ambiguous.

Being a juror is also a lot like being in kindergarten. Except there wasn’t any recess and we didn’t get nap or snack times. We were assigned seats and we did have to form ourselves into a line. Also, they took attendance and that included an actual roll call on at least two separate days. And, in case I’m not stressing this enough, there was a lot of repeating things. It was especially important to reiterate all of the rules to us. I guess we could have forgotten them what with all the fun we were having watching the second hand go around the clock face for hours at a time. The addition of finger-painting and macaroni art into jury service would likely prove beneficial.

The vast majority of people will never be a trial juror. Yet somehow the unpleasant aspects of being one have managed to permeate through to the masses such that it’s a rare person indeed that you would announce your receipt of a jury summons to that wouldn’t groan in sympathy at you. They might have sat through jury selection and think they know all about how tedious it was, but more than likely they can’t tell you more than that. Well, let me put your mind at ease, you don’t want to be on a jury. It’s not fun. Uschi has a vastly different opinion, but not only did she get a snack she also slept through a majority of the boring parts.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get around to those thrilling, intriguing, and amusing anecdotes sometime. I don’t know when that will be. Hopefully you’ll find it worth the wait.

  1. The only time the facts are a specific focus is during deliberation where the evidence is used to determine what the facts are by the jury. It’s only slightly more confusing and less interesting than it sounds.

Done!

One word says it all. At roughly 3:30 p.m. yesterday we were dismissed from jury service after coming to a verdict of not guilty on all six counts in the case of Quincy Atwell. If you feel like paying a subscription fee, you can read the original news article about the attack here and this morning’s piece on the court case here.

I have not read either article and I have no plans to ever do so. Our verdict mostly came from the fact that we all had reasonable doubt as to his guilt based on lack of evidence to prove that it was not self-defense. My personal feelings are just that and, at least right now, I have no plans to share them in this space.

I will say that yesterday was utterly torturous. The deliberation itself went pretty smoothly, but trying to concentrate and listen through a massive migraine was not my idea of fun. I admitted quite honestly to the other jurors that if it had been work, I’d have called in or gone home. None of us knew what would have happened if I had done that or how or if it would have affected the case.1 Not to mention, this far in I wanted to see it through to the end.

Anyway, I’m still feeling plenty lousy this morning so all the pent up snark will have to wait. In fact, I’m crawling right back into bed after I hit “Publish” on this post.

  1. We had been told we could call in if there was an emergency or something, but that was before we had entered deliberation and the alternates had not yet been sent home.

Can You Say “Deliberation?”

Deliberation officially started yesterday afternoon.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, that means it is quite likely that today will be my last day of jury duty. *crosses fingers* I can’t begin to tell you how much joy I have about this.

I also can’t begin to tell you how much pent up snark I have about all of this. You all know how I love to share the snark and having to keep my pithy commentary all to my onesie is pure and utter torture! Couple that with the mind-boggling boredom and, well, let’s just say I expect to get a lot of mileage out of jury duty related posts. Judging from the number of people who have all but begged to “hear all about this” I can only assume this will be well received. And, if by chance it isn’t, I’ll find it cathartic and that’s really all that matters anyway.

In other news, I have a migraine. This does not make me happy in any way.

Weekend Bullets

  • Jury duty will enter week three starting Monday. I won’t bother expressing my utter joy at this because apparently even my phone is sick of me.
  • My body is starting to protest all this sitting around. My back is in screaming agony and my left knee has been bothering me a lot. I had a doctor’s appointment regarding my on-going pain issues, but I had to reschedule it because of my endless jury Huey duty.
  • Also, whatever is making me sneeze in the courthouse seems to be affecting most of the other jurors, too who are all voicing issues ranging from similar itchy/runny noses to headaches.
  • Summer allergies are making Uschi a bit miserable. She’s very itchy and only picking at her food.
  • Our freezer broke. It’s under warranty so it was only a small nightmare to repair. Warranties don’t cover the $500+ of (smelly) food that was lost.
  • Roughly a month left before fall classes start. How the heck did that happen?
  • There’s been a lot of Twitter chatter about a possible vacation road trip. I can’t wait; it’s going to be epic! Though, at this point if we did everything that’s been mentioned we’ll be gone for 8 years.
  • I’m sure there was other stuff, but my ability to concentrate and remember things is totally shot of late. Huey, you suck.

Random Thought

It’s quite possible I’ve been asked more times this last week about my blindness than in my entire life prior to jury duty service. And by “ask” I mean offered up information after some vague mumbling and gesturing aimed in my direction. People are incredibly uncomfortable approaching the subject and I can only assume they hope not to offend me with their genuine curiosity.

What I have realized quite prominently this last week is that I’m more comfortable talking about the guide dogs. It’s not that I don’t like talking about my blindness and I am most certainly not offended by inquiries regarding my visual impairment. I just don’t really think about what I can or cannot see that much. I’ve had 33 years to adjust to it and for the most part I see what I can see and what I can’t is easily ignored because, well, I don’t see it.

No, what I think it really comes down to is that my blindness isn’t something I had any say about, but I chose to work with dogs and so I’m inherently interested in them. It’s literally a lifestyle to work with a dog and it’s one I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate. I can’t say I feel that way about being blind. I don’t really care one way or another about that.

But it did dawn on me that I’ve never devoted a post here — in the twelve years I’ve been blogging — to achromatopsia. I think I should rectify that.