"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Released from Civic Duties


Got summoned to appear for jury duty yesterday. It was a very special "Juror Appreciation Day" which means that they offered free cookies, coffee and pens in addition to having the chief Court Clerk and a couple judges come in to the assembly room to express their appreciation. They were selecting the jury for a murder trial. The Deputy D.A. prosecuting the case smiled at me when I entered the courtroom (we were both in the women's triathlon training group for awhile); smiled as if to say, in a friendly way, 'Hi Emily, Bye Emily...' but it turns out she was able to use her peremptory challenges on some other suspected bleeding heart liberal(s) because the trial schedule conflicted with FOOTBALL. The judge had everyone with a "hardship" stand up and say so. In between, "Your Honor, I run a ___________ business and we'll go under if I'm gone this week," and "Your Honor, my son is getting married on Saturday" (trial on Friday in addition to the other days) there was, "Your Honor, uh, I'm a starting wide receiver for the Redding Rage professional women's football team and we leave for an away game in Seattle on Friday morning." The judge clarified that I was playing for Redding and then asked if Chico had a team. I said no. Good thing, he said, because if I were a rival of any Chico team he would not grant the "hardship." Fortunately there was a large pool of possible jurors and only one trial to select for. The judge granted everyone's request to be excused due to "hardship." I may never know what he really thought of mine, and I suppose he's heard both stranger and more frivolous excuses. I'm sorry to miss what opportunity I may have had to watch the trial--but the odds of my being seated were probably comparable to my odds of being put in the game as a Center or Nose Guard. Not so likely.

3 comments:

Allie said...

A couple years ago, I got a summons for jury duty while on vacation. I got home, and saw the summons the day AFTER I was supposed to go. Whoops.

Luckily it was a local thing, and I called our city building and explained what happened, and was told that it was okay, because something had come up and they didn't end up doing anything with the people who had come for jury duty that day anyway.

Bellabell said...

So the murder trial is left to jurors who are free of "hardship," which equates with work, family involvement, and away games. Probably also with tickets to "Deal or No Deal," bulbs that must be planted now or rot, and a sack of laundry that must be returned to offspring at the community college before IT too rots. I'm musing about jury candidates who have NO hardships, and what their daily lives are like. Makes me think of my late father, who either possessed a Zen-like ability to take pleasure in the "unstructured" moment, or, as my mother said, "could enjoy doing nothing more than any man she knew." And on the subject of the jury system (one of his pet topics), he pooh-poohed it because he said every man was entitled to a "jury of his peers" (is that written somewhere, Emily?)--and where would they find 12 of HIS peers? And he MEANT that, despite little education and even less concern about logic and reasoning.

wordsfromhome said...

I do not think I can remember what an unstructured moment feels like. It might be almost like a vacation to have a week or two of jury duty for some murder trial.