Monday, August 08, 2005

Jury Duty

So today was my first day of jury duty. I find it a little annoying that the state can just call you and say "Thou Shalt Be Here, Monday at 1 PM" and make it so. Jury duty and the draft always seemed to me to violate the 13th amendment, which reads:
1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

But, my company pays me for time taken for jury duty, so once again I tread the path of least resistance.

This morning at 11 AM I was to call to find out my duty for the day. It turned out that I had to report at 1 PM. But, did I have to report to the nice, close courthouse in Santa Cruz? The one next to all the nice restaurants and shops? No! I have to go all the way to Watsonville, which is the armpit of Santa Cruz county. My lunch options appear to be a Burger King and a Carl's Jr./Green Burrito hybrid. At least these guys have an airport (the only one in the county, unless you count Bonny Doon.)

At 1 PM, I filed through the metal detector into a one room courthouse. There is apparently one judge at the courthouse in Watsonville, and the dingy courthouse appears to be built on a budget. I waited in line to give the clerk my slip of paper identifying me. She did not check my ID, which to me indicates a less scrupulous, more wealthy potential juror could hire someone to take his place. I counted about 60 prospective jurors.

In due time the judge arrived, and I must say he was very personable. He had the clerk call out 18 names, and wouldn't you know it, I was one of them. Juror #11, that's me.

Next episode: Voir dire!


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