Tuesday, September 19, 2006

more like club dumbo...

San Francisco Jury Duty is like the quarantine wing of Ellis Island, circa 1904, only smellier and with more immigrants. I arrived yesterday morning at 9am, only to wait in line to have my bag searched along with the criminals and hobos, many of whom seemed delighted to stand for hours and discuss the news of the day. Apparently, there was an early morning “security breach” in the stairwell of the Hall of Justice and everyone was forced to use the elevators. Consequently, after standing in line to be physically and emotionally violated by the fuzz, one then had to stand in line to get shoved in an elevator like cattle, rubbing up against people sweating in nervous anticipation of their court date.
I checked into the Jury Room, and claimed a seat in between an elderly Asian woman in an unending quest to clear her throat and a middle aged gay gentleman sporting an unfortunate toupee. I scrunched down and opened my book, pretending to read while surveying the freak show before me.
The number of grown men proudly donning Mickey Mouse apparel is appalling. I literally saw four or five guys parading around in a sartorial allegiance to a has-been cartoon character, one of whom must have spent a fortune on his leather “Club Mickey” jacket.
The Jury Room, the famous 307, is completely decked out in patriotic paper products, leftovers from the 4th of July bargain bin at Wallgreens ands clearly intended to instill some kind of sudden enthusiasm for the democratic process. It didn’t work. Nor did the instructional video, proclaiming California the greatest state in the union and filling us in on how justice works, entertain a single soul. I was most likely the only one paying attention, and that was solely for mocking purposes. Finally, “Bentos” starts reading names alphabetically from a list and as he made it to “T”, I thought I was off the hook.
No such luck.
He returned with a new list, one I was now on, and instructed us to the 2nd floor. Oh and by the way, you’ve all got to use the elevator because there’s been a security breach and the stairway is vulnerable to terrorists or something.
Yeah, Bentos. We know.
We piled in the courtroom, strangers next to strangers, eyes meeting eyes and rolling in unison as we took some oath. I paid no attention to the oath. I merely said “I do” and prayed for dismissal.
Turns out, I’ve been called for an 8 week criminal trial. Now, under normal circumstances, I’m in, as I regard something like this as the real life equivalent to staying home all day and watching Law and Order. However, I’ve got this job I want to keep and fresh air I’d like to breathe and an aversion towards the hundred or so people surrounding me. I wanted out. And I wanted out fast. Screw the judicial process. There’s crappy coffee and no place to check my e-mail. I’m out of here.
There’s an old saying that juries are made up exclusively of stupid people because they’re a collection of idiots who were too dumb to get out of jury duty. I’m delighted to report that not only do I own nary a Disney themed piece of apparel, nor does anyone I know, but I am officially not one of those idiots…

11 comments:

greg said...

I have successfully evaded jury duty for years because by the time they call me up, I've left the county or state. I remember getting one from San Francisco when I lived in Seattle, and one from LA when I moved back here. But I fear my days are numbered.

You COULD show up and when asked by the attorneys during voir dire, simply quote your favorite quote from the Bible - Ezekiel 25:17 - and see what happens.

Spots said...

That's kind of tough to pull off without a jheri curl...

Anonymous said...

ewww, immigrants!! in San Francisco?? I'm not one to cry "racist" but you sound pretty bad in this post

Spots said...

Are you new? That's nothing. I like how no one complains when I talk about hobos taking up all the good cardboard or the homos stealing all the free condoms, but when I point out the ethnic diversity of the SF Hall of Justice and one woman with a nasal issue, I'm suddenly "pretty bad."
In the great words of WC Fields, I'm not prejudiced. I hate everyone equally. And in the greater words of Don Rickles, I kid because I love.
Well, I don't love people that spit on sidewalks or cut in line, nor do I love children or animals, or really trees and sunshine for that matter.
Anyway, I'm sorry for offending the Bernal Heights crowd with their hairy armpits and hemp grocery bags. I'd try and make ammends but I'm late for my Klan meeting...

amy said...

Spots is right. That post was nothing. She's got some dicey stuff in the archives. Which is one of the many reasons why I read every day. Beth rips apart everyone, most of all herself. I'm the spawn of Asian immigrants and I love this bitch.
Lighten up, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna cry racist. But you and anyone else who avoids jury duty can never complain about the OJ trail or any other screwed up verdict. And I'll make sure to point it out next time you rant about a jury verdict.

honorary roomie said...

eh. the whole 'give them a jury' thing is just for decoration. the big trick, folks, is to not end up in court IN THE FIRST PLACE. problem solved.

Vernetta said...

I'm with honorary roomie!!! I've managed to get out of jury duty so far. Giving up weeks of my own life, job, health, etc to judge someone else's wrong doings is something I couldn't manage...

sfmike said...

I love jury duty. Years ago I was on-call at that same creepy Hall of Justice jury room and ended up in a three-day jury selection process. I never did make the cut but watched with great amusement other people trying to get out of it. The best moment was at the end, with everyone exhausted and ready for the selection to just be over, and they chose Yolanda, a young Hispanic woman dressed in blinding yellow. "Is there any reason you couldn't be impartial?" she was asked in a desultory way, and she said, with more than a hint of desperation, pointing her finger directly at the defendant who was on trial for some home invasion, "Well, he looks just like the guy who robbed my house last year!" Total pandemonium ensued.

I actually got on a jury at the lovely Superior Court on McAllister and Polk a couple of years back, wrongful termination, and the company being sued was lying so outrageously and kept throwing out so many confusing facts and figures to throw us off track, that we ended up giving the plaintiff $1,000,000 in punitive damages just because we were so pissed off that our time had been wasted for two months.

Jury duty is great.

Spots said...

If I had mountains of disposable income and no job cramping my style, I'd be hella down for JD, provided I just got wooshed in the VIP entrance and didn't have to wade through someone's urban sociology thesis. Or, alternately, I had that stuff they gave Clarice Starling to put under her nose during Frederika Bimmel's autopsy...

Culinarily Curious said...

Tell them that you believe 'pleading the 5th' means the defendant has something to hide. That's gotten me off two mind-numbing juries.

And on the sujbect of evading jury duty, I'm with you. If I could make the mortgage payment on the $3.10 they pay me a day -- I'd be a permanent volunteer. If I could cover my fuel expenses, I'd take the requisite vacation and consider it my civic duty.