December 3, 2013
It is Tuesday at 9.30am and I am in the booth.
The booth is a tiny box where I have the honor of talking to my client through an inch of bullet-proof glass. I say “talking”, though it’s really more like yelling, since it’s pretty hard to hear through that glass.
“Booth” is a misnomer too. “Booth” reminds me of the precursor to something fun. You buy tickets to a movie or carnival rides at a booth. No such fun was happening today.
Really, the booth is purgatory, a limbo my clients sit in after they’ve made their way from the prison and to the courthouse basement’s holding cells, but before they enter the courtroom where they await final judgment.
This particular morning, I am wearing a navy flannel Brooks Brothers No. 1 sack suit, a white shirt I freshly pressed at 5.30 that morning, and a somber tie that reflected my mood.
In gross juxtaposition, my client is in an orange prison jumpsuit and has a thermal on underneath to keep warm. I guess this hell follows Dante’s rules.
My client is a good man who’d recently made a series of terrible decisions, all of which led to where he is today. Despite his cock-ups, he was truthful and admitted his mistakes not only to his family, but to members of his community.
Then the police became involved.
And he got arrested.
And his mistakes became a “case.”
And that’s how we ended up on opposite sides of the same sheet of glass on Tuesday at 9.32am. Read the rest of this entry »
December 13, 2012
I reported Monday morning to the Criminal Justice Center at 8am for Jury Duty. I think I was the only person remotely excited to be there.
I sat all day today in the Criminal Justice Center waiting to get called to a panel, watching scores of people groan as their names were called, trudging their way into voir dire. I waited for my name to be called.
And I waited straight through noon, when they let us out for lunch. And I waited when we got back from lunch at 1.00pm.
Finally, around 3.30pm, I heard my name and got my juror number — 65. We took the elevator up to the 11th floor and waited in the jury box. After sitting another 30 minutes, the crier came out and announced that we weren’t needed, and we should go back downstairs where they’d dismiss us.
At least I got my $9.00 check to show for it. That, and a lack of sleep, since I spent another 8 hours making up for the work I missed.
Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.