Back in November, I got a notice that was called up for state jury duty in Brockton, Massachusetts. Now, Brockton isn’t very far from me, but you do stand about a 97% chance of getting shot at some point (and about 60% that’s its a shot to the head!), so there was a little bit of an inconvenience factor. Unfortunately for the great state of Massachusetts (which, by the way, FUCK YOU for being cold of JUNE GODDAMN FIRST. I actually had to wear a jacket today!), they called me in for the middle of January which was back when I was working 65 hours a week, coming home only to weep exhaustedly, then going back to work so it wasn’t really possible for me to go to jury duty. You are allowed one deferrment, which I requested for June 1st. How far away that seemed…
Well, here we are. In March I got a new summons, and this time they had summoned me for FEDERAL jury duty (hoo-boy! Lucky me! The guy at our jury orientation told us this morning that we were part of the lucky .05% of the Massachusetts population who was chosen to serve in the Federal jury pool- “don’t you feel lucky!?” he asked, excitedly. I don’t know. Are you going to feel lucky when I PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE for being chipper at 8:15 in the morning?). The federal courthouse in in Boston and our summons time was 8 AM.
Y’all, it takes me a long time to get from Plymouth to Boston in the mornings. I still have to go in occasionally for work, and it is infuriating. How in the hell did I do this for 11 months?! For one thing, I didn’t have to be at work until 9 AM, so that made it easier. Needing to be at the courthouse at 8 AM meant that I took the 6:19 train this morning. I was especially amused by the fact that I got home at 4 AM on Saturday morning, and was getting up at 5 AM on Monday morning. It feels a hell of a lot better on the OTHER side of o’fuck’o'clock than it does to be stumbling around towards an exciting morning of the grinding wheels of bureaucracy.
My jury summons made it very clear that I was to be expected to be ON CALL for summons for an entire two weeks, which gave me a pit in my stomach. I’m really not in the least busy at work right now, but the idea of spending two weeks getting up that early and having to miss work was upsetting. I don’t even want to think about my inbox when I get there tomorrow, much less after two weeks. I was trying to come up with all kinds of ways that I could get them to reject me. I figured I could make a convincing argument for being racist and/or a yankee-hater if they happened to ask me where I was from and another friend told me that I should harangue the Justice System for being corrupt, but I also kept hearing all kinds of stories about people still being required to serve no matter what crazy shit they spewed. I was just hoping they wouldn’t like me (impossible, I know!).
When we got there, they told the group of about 90 of us that they were selecting the jury for 3 trials- one criminal and two civil- and that they were both likely to be long trials, probably taking the entire two weeks. Damn. They called us up in groups of 30. Lucky for me I was in the last group, as the first ones who went got screened for two trials and I only got screened for one, so my chances were pretty good. They called us into the (by the way- beautiful!) courtroom and introduced the case to us. It was one of the civil trials- the EPA was suing a trucking company for (allegedly) violating emissions standards and falsifying their records. My first thought was: “hell yeah! I’m going to get to be an environmental activist!” My second though was: “Hmm…that probably isn’t impartial.” They asked us all kinds of questions about knowing any of the lawyers or having relatives or friends who worked for any of the interested parties, etc. Then the judge asked “If you know any reason that you would be morally or ethically influenced to not be impartial to this case, please stand up.” I stood. They called me up to the bench with the lawyers and asked me to explain. I told the judge that I was an active environmentalist and I had particlar interest in emissions standards. I watched the defense lawyers eyebrows shoot OFF of his head as he scrawled something on his legal pad. The Judge asked me if I thought it would influence my discision and I said “yeah, I’m pretty sure it would.”
About 5 minutes later I was excused as a juror! Yay! And I didn’t even have to make up a racist joke or anything! Woo, Justice!