FJD: Update #1

Believe it or not, the first day is done. As luck would have, the court docket this week is kind of light. as BAD luck would have it, I have to go back on Wednesday. Here’s what happened:

     I was supposed to be there at 9:30. I got there at 9:20 something and had to park at the very top of the parking garage (about 5 levels) next to the Courthouse. Walk all the way back down, across the street, through the walkway between Family Court and the Main Courthouse around to the front where I am supposed to go in. I was not alone in this endeavor, apparently. As soon as I get around to the door, i see a small line at the metal detector. Luckily, it moved fairly fast. In line, though, I noticed a pegboard with pictures of confiscated weapons on it. Somehow, I found this mildly amusing. What was notable was the cane sword, and what looked to be an old wild west type revolver. I don’t know guns, so I could be wrong. Anyway, As the line moved, I started emptying my pockets. All I had on me were my keys, the letter I was sent, my wallet, my MP3 player and a set of headphones. History has shown me to go light to places like this.  It was only the first day,  I saw people with  ‘War and Peace’ sized books with them.  So, I get through the detector no problem and power walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor and into the court room I was supposed to be in. I would’ve taken the elevator except for the fact that it was only one floor up and I wasn’t sure what time it was exactly because I didn’t bring a watch…..And the elevators were crowded.

     So, I go in and get ushered to my seat which was in the gallery three rows back from where the lawyers would normally sit, luckily near the end of the row. Unfortunately, it was crowded and I don’t like crowds. There was only one person between me and the end of the row, but more on that in a minute. It was kind of hot in there and I had on a long sleeve shirt on thinking it was going to be cold. Last time I had jury duty it was cold in there and I wore short sleeve. Dumb. It was also like 80+ degrees outside, so I had to balance it out, you know? Right, 9:30 came and went and people were still coming in. That died down a minute or two later, though.  Now, i’m going to start glossing over stuff because this will get real boring real fast (if it hasn’t already).

    First, let me tell you about who I was sitting by. Now, i’m not really cordial with people that I don’t foresee myself ever being around again. However, if i’m spoken to, okay, i’ll answer. I also don’t care for what I perceive as just blatant ignorance, not to say that I encountered any. Maybe. Ok, to my left, you have an older brother, nicely dressed, glasses, cell phone on his hip, cool. On my right, you have a sista (note the spelling people) dressed decently, short hair cut, short dress (right above the knee. So much that she had to keep pulling it down) that was probably warn the past weekend at the club. I could be wrong, though. Not judging.  I had on jeans and a long sleeve shirt, so I was probably odd man out, but I was comfortable and that’s what mattered. There were people in front, but they seemed alright. Here’s what got me. As we were sitting there, the first thing out of the sista’s mouth is, “I’m not gonna be all week. I’m going on vacation Thursday. I already paid for my tickets. I just won’t be here.” Ok, this to me was ignorant. NObody ask her anything. NObody even looked at her until she said that. It did illicit a couple of chuckles from the row in front of us and the brother beside me. And she didn’t say it real loud either, but why say it at all?

    Anyway, the Court Clerk starts talking and she introduces herself. Second thing she says is,”Please turn off all cellphones and beepers while in the court room.” To which, once again, the sista next to me says (just loud enough for the brother next to me to hear),” I’m not turning off my phone. I’ll put it on vibrate. I got Churin (that’s children for the uninformed)”. The brother next to me says something like, “yea, me too” or something. Now, to her credit, I respect the fact that people have children and need to be in contact with them in case something happens. I can’t fault her for that, I guess. Keep reading for what I did fault her on. So the Clerk keeps going with the preliminary BS about what is expected and all that. Part of which was a bit of housekeeping. I should mention that the last time I had jury duty, this stage of the game was lovingly called the “cattle call” by the judge. I kid you not. I wasn’t mad about it because that’s what it felt like. This was not said this time by anyone. I was expecting it, though. Part of the housekeeping consisted of weeding out people who hadn’t mailed in their letters as they were supposed to when they got them. I had gotten mine over two weeks ago and held on to it until last Monday. Oh, I forgot to mention that during the majority of the time, the sista to my right keeps looking at her cellphone.

     After all that was over, the judge was sent for (“Here comes the judge, Here comes the judge”). After a couple of minutes, the judge walked in, told everone to rise and then promptly sit back down. he then introduced himself and reintroduced the Clerk along with a few well placed jokes at her expense. Now we come to the meat of the call, qualifying of jurors. This where everyone has to stand up after being called to state their occupation, marital status, and spouse’s occupation, if applicable.
It felt like one of those support groups you see on TV, only bigger. Up until her name was called and more afterwards, the sista to my right kept looking at her cellphone. i shouldn’t care. It’s none of my business, but i’m sorry, you can’t be that important to where you HAVE to keep looking at your cellphone when you are supposed to be listening to instructions. I was hoping that the baliff or the judge would see her and check it out because the constant clicking and closing of her phone was getting on my nerves. This is what bothers me about people, particularly my people. You have a phone, big deal. know when, where, and how to use it. there is such a thing as etiquette. But you know what, I will spare you my cell phone rant for another day. As a matter of fact, I ending this now because it is way long and it appears there is a storm brewing. I could use a nap, anyway.

Funny moment of the day:

Is from the night before when my wife (who tosses and turns most of the night) says not to wake her up when I come to bed.  My wife who had no where to go during the day, I should add. My wife who after tossing and turning for 30 minutes, asks me if i’m sleep, then goes into the other room to go back to sleep while I start tossing and turning for the rest of the night, losing sleep. NICE!

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