Jury Duty

15 05 2008

There’s nothing worse than getting a Jury summons in your mailbox, because it lets you know that in about four weeks you’re going to have an experience worse than bathing in a pool of severed cocks.

The first thing you have to do is fill out the stupid form that comes with the jury summons. On this questionnaire, they ask you stupid shit that they never really intend to verify – like “have you ever been convicted of a felony?” or “do you think Barack Obama looks like a cartoon monkey?”. After Michael Vick and Mike Norman lie on their applications so they’ll have a chance to fuck someone over, and you fill yours out truthfully, you get to the part of the questionnaire that asks if your employer pays you during jury service.

Figure 1: Has probably served on a jury with a black defendant

If you’re a salaried employee, you’re fine, because you’re pretty much guaranteed pay during your time off that your employer is required by law to give you for jury duty. If you’re not a salaried employee as are untold millions of Americans, you won’t get fired – but you are completely screwed. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the country, but DC pays $4 if you’re not selected for a trial, and $30 per day if you are.

Thirty motherfucking dollars per day in lieu of your regular hourly rate. I know $100+/hour contractors who have wound up on trials that literally cost them thousands of dollars.

Figure 2: Will earn more money today than any juror anywhere ever

Anyhow, you send in your form and wait a few weeks for your service date. When that day comes, you walk your ass over to the courthouse and are greeted by a line a mile long coming out the door. After you stop swearing, you look around at the people in line and notice something interesting:

  1. Lots and lots of white people holding jury summons
  2. Lots and lots of black people waiting in line to support family/friends on trial

This is upsetting now, but it will absolutely enrage you in just a few minutes. Stay tuned.

You get to the metal detector inside the courthouse, which is staffed by U.S. Marshalls. Now for anyone that’s seen the movie of the same name (starring Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley fucking Snipes), you’d be inclined to think that being a Marshall would require intelligence and attention to detail. Not so. The ‘Marshall’ manning the metal detector looks like Special Ed from Crank Yankers’ wearing a police uniform, and is at least as incompetent.

Figure 3: “I’m an officer of the court, YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!”

People are walking through the metal detector with the thing beeping and blaring like it’s fucking Mardi Gras, but the Marshall is letting them right on through without checking them with the handheld metal detector. Instead, he just uses it to direct machine gun toting patrons into the middle of the courthouse, because apparently he thinks the handheld implement is supposed to be used like an orchestra conductor’s wand. I walk into the courthouse wondering if this fucktard even realizes he’s holding a metal detector.

Next on the jury duty menu is another enormous line, this one leading into the jury office which is filled with people making bad excuses to try to get out of jury duty like “I hate niggers” or “I’m a hemophiliac suffering from Uncontrollable Falling Down Syndrome”. When it’s your turn in the office, the clerk gives you a creepy smile, gives you a badge, and tells you to wait in the ‘jurors lounge’ for your name/number to be called.

The juror’s lounge is filled with rows and rows of seats. People are stupid, so instead of walking to the far end of the row so other people can easily file in behind them, they sit at the near end of the row and force everyone to walk over top of them. This asshole also has the nerve to act bothered by the fact that people have to do this even though it’s his/her (usually her) own fault. You finally take a seat, and an orientation video starts.

The orientation video features some old Civil War veteran of a judge telling you how fortunate you are to live in a country where you’re tried in front of a jury of your peers. Remember what I said about the demographics of the line outside the courthouse? This is where you become very very very very angry. If you’re smart, you’ll toss in your headphones and listen to Drowning Pool for awhile so you can’t hear the rest of the video. If you’re not smart (like me), you’ll listen in utter disbelief as the rest of the video explains the trial process that you’d have assumed any normal functioning adult would understand already by sheer virtue of not living under a fucking rock.

The video ends, and not a moment later some overly excited Carlton Banks lookalike jumps to the podium up front:

Jury Pool: [grunts in unison]
Carlton: “OK SUPER DUPER! We’re gonna be calling our first jury for Judge Whogivesaflyingfuck, so if I call your name annnnnnnnnnd badge number please announce your presence with a hearty ‘HERE’!”

Figure 4: Goddammit…

This khakied fuck stick then starts reading off the names of the extremely unfortunate. You feel like you’re in that scene from Glory where all the soldiers are charging across the beach toward Fort Wagner – people all around you are being blown up by cannon fire…and all you can do is hope you aren’t next.

Carlton comes out two or three more times before dismissing the survivors for lunch, which is the only enjoyable part of jury duty. You grab your sammich from a local foodatorium and sit outside the courtroom looking at people. This is when you realize something very interesting about black female attorneys:

  1. They are hot
  2. They are everywhere

All these chicks are wearing high heeled shoeses and those vertically striped booty-accentuating dress pants. There is so much high class booty everywhere that you briefly forget that you’re at jury duty. You get to partake in this visual feast for a whole entire hour…but at 1:30, your monkey ass goes right back into the juror’s lounge.

Carlton returns several more times to choose victims, but somehow he doesn’t call your name. You pass the time by reading and watching the awful Sandra Bullock movie they insist on playing over and over again on the TV screens. When you get really bored, you start having stupid contests with yourself like seeing how many times you can blink in a minute. As the end of the day approaches, you look around and wonder how many non-salaried employees are about to get paid $4 today, which won’t even pay their Metro fare to and from the courthouse. You resist the urge to start the revolution.

Figure 5: Me, in the last hour of jury duty

Finally, Carlton shows up for the last time and dismisses everyone. You can’t help but think that there must be a more efficient way to set up jury pools. This is eight hours of your life that you will never EVER get back. You are fuming as you walk out of the courthouse…until you see hot attorney booty all over the place again. Suddenly, you think it was all worth it.

God bless women.