I Didn’t Kill Him, Mr. Mason. He Was Dead When I Got There.

About 2 months ago I got a summons in the mail. Jury Duty. Ugh. I know it’s my civic duty and all that, but [insert ‘1001 reasons while I will more than likely be ousted on a peremptory challenge, therefore making it a waste of my time’ diatribe here].

Anyway, I’ve never served on a jury before. For me, it has all of the makings of a snoozefest.

I guess the best case scenario would be that it’s an uber-famous celebrity murder case, Perry Mason is the defendant’s lawyer, his client is innocent, the actual killer is in the courtroom, there’s a big shoot-out, somebody jumps out of a window and the artist rendition person doesn’t draw my nose too big or make me look like some local yahoo.
The worst case scenario would be a Twilight Zone-esque remake of 12 Angry Me Men retitled 11 Militant Lesbians Who Refer To Themselves as Womyn and Some Dispassionate White Guy Named Bob.

Although I haven’t actually served on a jury YET, I have been to the orientation. I was a few minutes late, but it wasn’t my fault. The day before there were tornadoes all over the state. Downed trees, powerlines and detours turned a 20 minute drive into one that lasted over an hour. Lucky for me I’m an ‘I abhor being late-aphobe’ and gave myself, what I considered, ample time to get to the courthouse.

When I got to courtroom no. 203, which is where I was supposed to go, it was crowded. I couldn’t find a place to sit. After a few minutes of looking, I said “screw it”, and went and sat in the empty jury box. I guess it was okay because nobody said anything.

We were instructed on our responsibilites as a juror and received all of the information on when to call about the court cases. We were the Wednesday jurors. Fabulous. The only day of the week from that days of the week child poem with a negative connotation.

Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

How utterly lovely! Woe – Great sorrow and distress.

Anyway, us Wednesday Woe jurors are supposed to serve for four months. FOUR FRICKIN’ MONTHS! April 3 – August 31.

Ya know, I was under the impression that if you were chosen for jury duty that – barring some big, humongous hardship case – you HAD to serve. Apparently that’s not the case. We were informed that if you couldn’t serve that week – and they pretty much implied that it could be for any old stupid ass reason; i.e. I’m depressed because Lie To Me got cancelled – that you could call the bailiff with your lame ass excuse and be exempt.

REALLY?

We were also informed that we were expected to serve on at least 10 juries. However, if one of the trials was a murder trial (fat chance) that lasted 3 days or more, then you didn’t have to serve on any more juries, even if you hadn’t reached your 10 trial quota.
Oh yeah, we were also informed that any time we wanted to have jury duty – after our 4 months was up – that we could call and be put in another jury pool (or whatever it’s called).
Since when did jury duty become a poverty level job opportunity?

That reminds me…
Compensation
So, if there is a trial scheduled, you get 20 bucks for showing up at the courthouse. If you are chosen for a trial, you get another 50 bucks.

Like I said before, I haven’t served yet because THERE HASN’T BEEN A TRIAL.
The first Tuesday that I called (like I was supposed to), I was informed that there would be a trial the next day, and to show up at room blah blah at blah blah o’clock. Four hours later I got a call saying that the trial had been cancelled because the guy pled guilty (at least tell me what he pled guilty TO, so that I can at least get some kind of idea of how boring the trials are ACTUALLY going to be). 
The next Tuesday that I called, I was informed that there would not be a jury trial that day. It’s going to be kinda hard to fill my 10 trial quota if this keeps happening.

The point behind, and reason for, this disjointed discourse of a blog post is…

I got a check in the mail 2 days ago for $20. It was from the County Treasurer. For jury duty. Which I haven’t performed yet.

What do I do?

Do I cash the check and hope that a FEMA-like incident, in which I am supposed to ‘give the money back bitches’, doesn’t occur?

Do I put the check aside and hope that I receive information on what the deal is BEFORE the check expires in 90 days?

Or, do I call and ask “what’s up”?
Actually, the more I think about it, my past dealings with calling anyone for information and being redirected and put on hold an inordinate amount of times emotionally precludes me from even considering this option…So, scratch that one.

OR…

Do I write a letter to the Editor expressing my grave concern for the wasting of taxpayers money, by paying potential jurors for non-existant trials?

Well, anyway, I’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the next 3 1/2 months. I’m hoping for some big, long, drawn out murder case, involving sequestering and jury tampering by the local mafia.
In reality, the cases will probably be contract related, in which judicial phrases not covered in Perry Mason reruns or my first year Latin class will be used, thereby boring me to tears or making me to wish that I had a hangman’s noose.

Ignorantia juris non excusat

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