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My Civic Duty, by firecat, age 4 (and 4 decades)

A month ago or so: You are summoned for Jury Duty at the superior court, 17 miles from your house, at 12:45pm. Please check the day before to see if you are needed.

Yesterday: You are needed for Jury Duty. Your reporting time has changed. You must report at 9am. Please come 30 minutes early to pass the security checkpoint.

8:30 am: Welcome to Jury Duty during Juror Appreciation Week! Here's your free pen. Help yourself to Cheezits, pretzels, granola bars, and instant coffee and tea.

9:00 am: We're sorry that the hot water tap on the water cooler isn't working. We're sorry that the room is so crowded. Oh, there's also a power outage in parts of the courtroom. That means the computers aren't working. That means we can't process your affidavit forms or assign you to courtrooms. But they're working on it, so you can't leave. We're sorry that the bathrooms have no lights and there's no air conditioning either. But we do happen to have power to this TV, so we can to show this video about how fun Jury Duty is. Thank you for serving.

We pay $15 plus 34 cents a mile, but payment starts on the second day, so thank you for your contribution today (yes, she really said that). This is Juror Appreciation Week!

10:15 am: There's a fire in the building. Please leave the building immediately and stand in the parking lot in the hot sun for 45 minutes.

11:00 am: You're dismissed. Thank you for showing up. You won't have to do Jury Duty for another year. If you need an excuse for work, you can't have one, because our computers aren't working, so we can't process your affidavit forms or issue you excuses. But trust us, you won't have to serve for another year.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
It is a shining example of same, isn't it?
dawnd
May. 9th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Wow. And they wonder why people try everything under the sun to get out of this!
elynne
May. 9th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Just... yeah.
punzel
May. 9th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yeesh.
Ironic how appropriate that icon is for your story!
punzel
May. 9th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ergh.
Poetic. I meant POETIC.
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeesh.
It seems appropriate so often.
karenkay
May. 9th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday?
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
Ha, THAT would have be the sine plus non, but fortunately it's several months away.
wordweaverlynn
May. 9th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
I am appalled but not surprised.
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
I might work my way around to appalled when my brain re-engages. Surprised I wasn't.
leback
May. 9th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
I am routinely disgusted by just how poorly jurors (and potential jurors) are treated. Considering the tasks juries are saddled with, you'd think (well, not you personally, because you obviously know better) they'd be treated with a modicum of respect...but I guess if the system doesn't *have* to treat jurors well (which it doesn't, because jurors have effectively no rights and no recourse for poor treatment), why would it bother?

Grr.
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
I have to say that the employee in charge of the jurors (don't know the name for the job) was quite kind (in some cases they've been rude) but it was clear there wasn't anything she could do for us except apologize and wait for orders from someone else.
(Deleted comment)
epi_lj
May. 9th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
That sounds frustrating. Still, it could be worse; you could have been serving in Canada (where the escapade would have lasted another four days)!

I initially read this:

"Please check the day before to see if you are needed."


...as:

"Please check the day before to see if you are naked."
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
there are SO many ways it could have been worse.
necturus
May. 9th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Several winters ago I was called to jury duty in a Massachusetts courthouse that had no heat. We were all huddled together with our overcoats on, waiting for some judge to decide whether or not we were needed.

This was the same courthouse in which the Sacco and Vanzetti trial took place in 1921, incidentally.
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
Wow. Was it just the jury room that had no heat, or the whole building? Woe betide any defendant who gets tried in that situation.
necturus
May. 9th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
The whole building had no heat. A lawyer poked his head into the room at one point and suggested we lobby our legislators to increase the budget for the courts so they could afford heat. I don't think he was serious, but you never know.
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
Wow again.
genomekelly
May. 9th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
_Mirabile dictu_, no less an authority than Zacarias Moussaoui has proclaimed that the American criminal justice system works. (I read it on the Internet - it must be true.)
firecat
May. 9th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
It works, they regularly put people in jail and kill them (providing certain industries with a cheap labor source in the meantime).

Whether it's the people who actually committed the crimes is another question.
slfisher
May. 10th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC)
free granola bars!
firecat
May. 10th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
And a pen! Any time I get a free pen, I'm happy.
the_siobhan
May. 17th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
All I can think to say is, "Wow".
firecat
May. 17th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
I guess that pretty much sums it up...
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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