Thursday, November 13, 2008

Now I am Spoiled

Jury duty is the hugest load of North American hooey I have ever experienced! The whole thing is totally disorganized, and incredibly inefficient. I suppose I am spoiled after working on the largest and most organized political campaign in history. President-elect Barack Obama raised record amounts of funds using the internet, and mobilized millions of people worldwide. Somehow he still managed to be so connected that he was on the phone with an assaulted canvasser less then an hour after the attack. Every second of my time on the campaign was utilized to its fullest by knocking on doors, calling people, training future canvassers, organizing literature, or researching the candidates. Now I am stuck in the dark ages surrounded by my fellow citizens twiddling our thumbs waiting for a case that will probably never come.

The thing that irritates me the most about jury duty is how you are summoned. When voters told me they did not want to vote because they didn’t want to get dragged into jury duty I laughed, thought they were superstitious, or lazy. Well the past three days have proven me wrong. This heinous process drags me out of bed in the dark, and I stumble through the cold onto the bus to arrive just in time to sit in a room for seven hours doing nothing to assist the legal system. I suppose I actually responded to my summons out of some subconscious guilt for abandoning my country for the past three years. I also wanted to get a sneak peek into my sister’s future life as a lawyer. However, I have been here for three days, and 21 hours and never even seen the inside of a courtroom.

The closest I came to actually experiencing our genius judicial system was seeing a real live judge. On my second day in ‘The Room’ they informed us that our names were chosen at random to be on a panel, so I sat back and waited for fate to choose me. It did! About twenty minutes later they announced my name mashed among seventeen others. We gathered, they took us up in the special blue elevators with an escort, and they put us in another room with a big long dark wooden table. The table demanded importance, and decisiveness, and for the first time I felt like I was in a lawyer movie. One of those movies where the naive jury sits around one of those tables and unknowingly decides the fate of the planet. All eighteen of us were in good spirits and the loudmouth woman with a cane took it upon herself to make a big pot of coffee. After almost an hour the judge came in wearing her long black robe and told us the lawyers were on their way. Apparently they were waiting in line for the elevator! Really, they had to wait an hour to take an elevator…that was the best this courthouse could do? The judge returned about twenty minutes later to let us know they lawyers had just stepped off the elevator. The judge’s final visit was to inform us that they were going to throw the case out, “sorry for wasting your time” she said. With that I was thrown back into the waiting pool to drown. I am marinating with a bunch of strangers right now.

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