Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jury Doody

This is a real bummer – they’ve started blocking Blogger at my workplace. I was hoping that yesterday was just a fluke, but it was still blocked today. It seems like this happened once before and it was unblocked later, so there may be a shred of hope. I’m actually surprised that it wasn’t already blocked since they block flickr, Yahoo mail, and Gmail. Crap, I can’t even read comments left on my blog anymore from work. It’s like they actually expect us to work or something. Sheesh!

My favorite download site has a really nice Hendrix set for download here. While the set is quite short, the sound is great. I’ve heard tons of live Hendrix, and as far as quality these tracks can stand alongside any of the other ones I’ve heard.

Now the most boring tale of jury duty ever! Monday morning I returned to court to potentially serve as a juror. We were supposed to be there at 8:30, and I got there right about that time. After passing through the metal detector I made my way up to the 5th floor where we were supposed to report. It looked like a bus station up there, there were people sitting and standing all over the place. Luckily I brought a book, but all of the benches were taken so I had to sit on the floor. I had to dodge a steady stream of people going to and from one of the courtrooms since I was pretty close to the door (hey, don’t like me sitting on the floor getting in your way? Then don’t make me wait in the hall!). It turned out to be a pretty long wait. It was 10 before they started calling out names for us to line up and go into the courtroom. Actually, it really didn’t bother me since I would rather sit somewhere reading a book than go to work.

There were 50 of us total in the room (actually 49 since one person didn’t show). Since they only needed 12 jurors and 6 alternates, the chances were pretty good that I wouldn’t get picked. The case involved a man who was charged with selling a controlled substance, in this case cocaine. The state lawyer went through a Power Point spiel where he explained why it was a felony (there was between 4 and 200 grams of cocaine involved), how they had to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and how any potential non-cocaine additives in what this guy sold would be considered to be cocaine. So if he sold 1 gram of cocaine mixed with 199 grams of baby powder it would be considered 200 grams of cocaine.

I know it’s a cliche, but as soon as I see a lawyer my BS detector goes on high alert. Some cliches are cliches because they are true. I have very little patience for the smarmy brand of BS peddled by many lawyers. They use their chicanery to get you to say things that you may not fully understand and try to make you feel stupid. This guy kept asking in each row in turn if we agreed with everything he said, and he implied that “quiet people were more likely to be picked” so that everyone would give him a loud “yes” when he asked if we agreed with what he was saying. Gag.

The defense attorney then got his chance to ask us questions. This guy seemed a bit seedier than the state attorney. He seemed like one of those guys that would have a splashy ad in the Yellow Pages or a TV commercial that runs during the Gilligan’s Island reruns. He latched onto his approach like a pit bull, and asked everyone in the first 2 rows the exact same questions: “Are you afraid of the government?” “Do you think the government could be wrong?” and “Would you be afraid to tell the government that they were wrong?” Not hard to see where that defense is going.

When both of the lawyers were done they sent us out into the hall again. Luckily since I was close to the door I got to grab some bench this time, and I sat down and continued reading my book. We were out there for about 25 minutes when they called us back in. The judge then called the names of the people who would be on the jury, and I was not one of them. Oh well. I wouldn’t have minded serving, but I’m sure I’ll get another chance someday. It was probably for the best, I might would have fried the bastard after that long wait they put us through. One odd note, there was a guy there that I went to junior high with. I recognized his name when they called it. I never would have recognized him from seeing his face, he’s about doubled in weight since I last saw him. I guess 20 years can do that to a person.

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Blogger Anna said...

I know what you mean - there are about a million dull and meaningless tasks I would rather perform than be at work. Sitting for two hours and reading a book sounds dreamy. Although I suppose it would have been better in a seat as opposed to the floor. Glad you avoided the doody this time. Now you have three more years of freedom? Is that how it works in TX?

And all of this blocking of websites at work - is it to discourage people from wasting time on the internet or is it some sort of security measure? Either way, what a pain in the ass. I think my head would explode if I couldn't check my email all day.

7/18/2007 10:19 PM  
Blogger JC said...

Yeah, the floor part wasn't so much fun. I actually stood up and leaned against the wall after awhile. When you get to be my age the floor can be quite uncomfortable! It looks like you can get an exemption if you have been called within the last 2 years.

The blocking of email sites is for security reasons. They're deathly afraid of someone downloading a virus. Other sites, like Blogger, are blocked because of the wasting time thing. It's probably my fault! I realized this morning that I can probably still read Blogger posts from my aggregator, but I can't see comments.

7/19/2007 6:41 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

so good to hear that you got that doody cleaned up! i've been on two juries, or maybe one. can't remember, it's been so long. but i was under-employeed at the time, so it got me out of the house.

7/19/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger hollibobolli said...

Do they really mix cocaine with baby powder?? I would think people would be able to smell that!!

I'm sorry you won't be writing the next "In Cold Blood" this year. Hopefully soon!!

7/21/2007 7:49 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

oh JC, sorry to hear about the blogger blockage! Surely you'll just find millions of other sites to visit and make up for whatever lost time the company is so afraid of. asschickens.

I like the idea of jury duty but feel the same way you do about lawyers.

7/22/2007 12:55 PM  

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