08 October 2007

Jury Duty

Well, it finally happened. I've been summoned for jury duty, the dreaded civic duty we must all face at some point in our adult, American voter lifetime. I was summoned once in college but was deferred because jury duty was in West (By, God!) Virginia and college was in Georgia. Not going to happen unless the taxpayers of WV wanted to pay for my own private jet. Yeah, right.

This time around, I've been summoned for the first time in Georgia. All of my big talk, "Yeah, I've lived here for over 12 years and I've never been summoned," didn't work. Watching my in-laws who live in a sparsely-populated county and have to serve every time they turn around, I felt relieved that I lived in suburban Atlanta, densely populated, with not a chance in hell that I would be summoned anytime soon. Then, the envelope came.

Early Wednesday afternoon, I opened the mailbox, saw the envelope from the county clerk's office, and knew I'd been had. When I read the summons, it said to report on Monday, October 22, and to not bring children. Yeah, right. I'm breastfeeding. Hmmm, breastfeeding while on jury duty. Could you picture it? Sitting there in a nondescript courtroom chair, my fellow jurors have elected me forewoman, and as I stand to hand the verdict to the bailiff, J-man's feet poke out from underneath his cover.

Of course, me being the anal, nervous-about-breaking-the-law type of person I am, I call the number provided to talk to someone about a deferment. I want to take care of this as soon as possible, before the sheriffs begin breaking down my door. The phone number goes straight to voice mail where I leave my name, number, and situation. Next day, no one calls back. I re-dial the number, and again, voice mail. After three days of this nonsense, I decide to cheat and finally call the court clerk's main number. From there, I'm forwarded to a real, live, speaking in real-time, person. Wow! What a concept. She says that since I'm nursing, I can send in an affidavit asking for a "hardship" deferment. Hardship? What hardship? WTF? Nursing is a hardship? Why, because wet nurses are no longer used or in practice and that makes this situation a hardship? It's not a hardship. I bond with J-man and have a valid excuse to watch TV five times a day. Whatever. All I know is that on this affidavit, I check off the section that states, "I am the primary care giver having active care and custody of a child under the age of 7 years and have no reasonable available alternative child care." (Read: I've got a parasite situation and no available wet nurse.) Sure, I'll take that. Not exactly my issue but I'll take it nonetheless.

Then, I noticed on the jury duty summons questionnaire a question asking, "Are you related by blood to anyone in law enforcement?" Hmmmm. Big yes. Daddy was a cop. Suweet! Maybe Pops has forever taken care of my jury duty! I'll never have to serve on a jury duty because we all know that cops' kids painted graffiti in their youth and willingly flip the lethal injection switch in adulthood. Mwhaaaa-ha-ha-ha!!! So, I call back court clerk lady and tell her, "Yo! My old man was a copper! Take that! I don't need no stinkin' jury duty!" OK, maybe I didn't put it like that, but that's what I was thinking. Her reply was that I could still serve on civil jury cases. And that got me to thinking, How would I decide verdicts on any number of civil cases? Let's see.

Case file #1 - Hot fast food restaurant coffee has burned drive thru patron. Suing for $50 million. NOT! See me on your jury, run away. Run far, far away. You ain't gettin' no cash! Put the damned coffee in the cup holder where it belongs and not between your legs! The cup says HOT for a reason!

Case file #2 - Divorce with a jury. Husband has committed adultery and is demanding alimony of his high-powered, rich wife whose work ethic drove him to have the affair in the first place. Go ahead and castrate yourself, buddy, 'cause you ain't gettin' a dime from the wife or sympathy from me.

Case file #3 - Patient had major surgery and suffered pain and infection due to a surgical instrument left inside his body. Suing for damages and unpaid medical bills. Yeah, the hospital and doctor are going DOWN!

Case file #4 - Your name is O.J. Simpson and you're trying to get your fake Rolex back from the Goldman family. Whatever, dude. You're so screwed.

So, there you have it. My brush with jury duty. I'm sure sometime in the near future, once J-man is weaned, you'll be seeing my blogs live from the courthouse because, yes, they did say they have Wi-Fi access. Me and the MacBook will be chronicling our future jury adventures. Stay tuned!

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