People who work for The Government are, by and large, evil bastards. This is common knowledge I know, but I still feel it is worth mentioning. The Government lives to waste your time, and wants to put you in jail and waste a lot more of your time if you make too much of a fuss about how much of your time they normally waste.
The people who work in the Courts where they have Jury Duty are a bored and boring lot. They find it downright hilarious if you ask how long it will take or tell them you don’t want to be on a jury. Clearly no one, and I mean, no one, wants to be on a jury. Anyone who has gone through the mind deadening process of jury selection knows exactly why the O.J.Simpson Trail ended in record time-and in fact I am surprised it took them as long as it did. Jury Duty is a living Hell.
Now it is possible that this is a slight exaggeration. My own humble Jury Duty experiences were of the minor waste of time variety and not the weeks on end who-gives-a-damn type that show up on Court TV all the time. But still, I did manage to fall asleep while in the Jury Box. This was the most god damned boring shit in the history of the universe. This was-yes, I’d rather watch Paint Dry or NASCAR, than this. The general theme followed the O.J. pattern, tell us something, repeat what you just said, say it again, and repeat the whole process seven or eight times for every sentence you say. The other side stands up and does the same thing. I was honestly baffled that a couple of the people in my Jury actually seemed to care about the case-which involved how much Commission an Affiliate should be paid-the Affiliate wanted more, the Main Company wanted to pay less. Shocking I know.
After three days of napping in the Jury Box and getting paid two dollars a day, or was it five? The parties met and agreed on a Settlement-Hosanna! We the Jury never found out, nor really cared, what this settlement was-we were just glad it was over.
Another case I was a lucky Jury member on involved a woman who was crazy-or so some Doctor or another said. We had one piece of evidence-a signed affidavit-or some other legalize document that says-THIS PERSON IS NUTS. We didn’t see the woman in question, nor did we see the Doctor. Our job was to say that yes, this paper says the woman is crazy-put her in Hospital, or no this document doesn’t say she is crazy-don’t put her in Hospital. But since our only option was, Yes She’s Nuts-it seemed a pretty open and shut matter to me. Not so to the other, much more serious members of our little jury. They debated on whether or not we, who have never seen the woman, should be judging if she is mentally unstable and a danger to herself or others. So we requested our one piece of evidence and our duly elected Foreman read it. What should have taken ten minutes took two hours.
I haven’t been called up for Jury Duty since the case where I fell asleep, which I suppose might have been contempt of court-but it is hard not to have contempt for Court. The idea that the most important events of your life are decided by people who really, really don’t care-well, it’s a bit scary, isn’t it?
Of course, I think most people care, at least during the start of a trail, before they are swamped by the totally trivial nature of a trail. We are fooled by Perry Mason and Law and Order into thinking our legal system works-at least once in a while. But the more we use DNA, the more people are set free after being wrongly imprisoned for the better parts of their lives.
There should be Professional Jurors and they should leave the rest of us alone.