I had to schlep down to the County Courthouse this morning and do my civic duty, offering myself to my fellow citizens as a member of a jury of their peers.
Apparently, if you are a licensed attorney engaged in the practice of law, you are barred from serving on an Oklahoma jury. Unfortunately, I am the former but not the latter. But don’t think I didn’t ask the second I walked in the room.
While looking around the room, I saw two, TWO kids I taught way back when they were in fifth grade. Now they are all growed up and serving jury duty. The one girl even showed me pictures of her two beautiful children. Man I felt old. I also felt a twinge of pride, and maybe some sense that I haven’t wasted the last dozen years of my life.
An odd thing happened towards the end of the day. There is a television in the room where all the jurors waiting for a case have to sit. Well, about 4:00 every channel is showing coverage of the Michael Jackson verdict. The room got quiet and people seemed very curious and interested. About five minutes later, the Clerk of the Court calls the jury supervisor and tells her to turn it off. The supervisor said she was told it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to see the coverage.
I can only guess it was because they were afraid if Michael Jackson wasn’t found guilty, then nobody could ever be found guilty again, ever, anywhere.
But at the end of the day, justice prevailed, at least for me. The last time I showed up for jury duty, in 1999, I ended up on a murder trial, and missed nine weeks of work. Today, the justice system decided they didn’t need me, and I’m free and clear for this round of civic servitude.
Oh, and I made twenty bucks, which is the going rate for jury duty per diem these days. So, I’ve got that going for me; which is nice.
Is this a great country or what?