Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In which Melly gets Jury Duty...

And it's nothing like Law & Order.

Not that I didn't already know that, because there's a reason why the majority of our population groans like they've been gutted when they see that summons in the mail. Because it's a pain in the butt.

Don't get me wrong, I get that it's important. This weekend I sat through four screenings of genocide featured documentaries and films: The Killing Fields, The Long Way Home, Darfur Now, and Hotel Rwanda.

It's sobering to watch them all at once, because you're reminded just how LUCKY you are to live in a country where your biggest gripe is that you have to sit through jury duty once a year, and not in one where you've being killed simply based on your skin color or heritage or no reason at all.

And to be honest, jury duty did have it's amusements. There was the 'actor' in the box who insisted on being referred as the 'award' winning actor and also vehemently added that as an actor he was more in tune with the human mind and therefore qualified as the psychologist expert. When he was summarily dismissed, he got up in a huff and stated to the rest of us that 'justice would not be served'.

There was hour and a half lunches, where eclectic members of the jury would do everything they could to not talk about the case and instead wandered through downtown, to Placita Olvera, and marveling at the long trek to the parking assigned at the majestic Disney Concert Hall.

There was the bored looking judge, who would comment wryly and do his job, and nod off in his chair, blinking away to check the court record to catch up.

There was the note pad we were given, which was used for notes, and for ADD afflicted me, became a savior in the form of the sketch pad, in which my notes turned into snapshots of the courtroom - witnesses, respondent, lawyers and bailiff.

But the case itself was sobering, and I learned way more about child molestation than I ever wanted to know. In the end, we opted to send the respondent back to the state hospital, and I understand now the importance of jury duty. The importance of being fair.

Even so, I'm very very glad I don't have to go again for another year.

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