WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Jeery doody

Not my cuppa tea …

People who have been reading this blog for a while know that I’m an unapologetic introvert. A lot of writers are, because writing requires you to spend a lot of time alone in a quiet room. You get used to it. In fact, you start to prefer it. I think it was Schopenhauer who said you’re better off staying away from society because you’re smarter than they are …

The worst thing an introvert can possibly find in his mailbox is a jury summons. I just got one.

Ever since I moved to a rural county six years ago, it feels like I’m getting these things constantly, since there aren’t as many people to pick from. Actually, this is the third one, and I got seated on a prospective panel just once but talked my way out the door, which is extremely painful for an introvert. You have to speak in front of fifty people or more, one of them a judge.

This time I asked for a postponement till mid-December, when it’s possible the holidays will interfere with court business and I might be able to dodge a bullet. Two or three times in the past I volunteered to appear during the week between Christmas and New Years, and each time I didn’t even have to show up. This is how introverts think. And the satisfaction in successfully avoiding public interaction is always sublime.

I’ve been forced to serve on two juries in the past. Traumatic. One case was a lawsuit brought by a man who hid from cops by jumping into a motion-activated trash compactor and got himself good and wrecked up and thought someone should pay for it. In the other, a woman fell into the landfill because of her own negligence and thought someone should pay for that too. If I have to serve on another civil jury my introvert head is going to ‘splode.

My wife is dying for me to land on a murder case. We don’t have many of those in this county, but every now and then a husband offs the wife or something (as they are wont to do), so there’s hope. I’d rather not have to be the arbiter of someone’s fate, but in the worst-case scenario I’d probably be the lone holdout who lets the accused walk. Henry Fonda I’m not. I’d have to go into the witness protection program.

Anyway, wish me luck in December. And for those of you who love jury duty, I’m happy for you, but I prefer to stay home in my quiet room making stuff up.

[Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash.]

10 comments on “Jeery doody

  1. Pamela Beckford
    October 5, 2021

    I’m with you – I hate being cooped up in a room with people I don’t know and will have to interact with (which I just wouldn’t do). But, hey, maybe you could get a new book out of this.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 5, 2021

      Who knows? What I do know is that it’s too high a price to pay! 😉

  2. kingmidget
    October 5, 2021

    I served on a jury once. A civil trial that lasted almost three weeks. It was an interesting experience. Whatever you wish for in December, I hope you get it.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 5, 2021

      I just keep thinking it’ll be me and 11 Trump voters, up there in Placerville. Perish the thought!

      • kingmidget
        October 5, 2021

        Now that is a nightmare.

  3. Gary Trujillo
    October 5, 2021

    I tear mine up and throw them in the trash. They claim they can charge you for this but it’s an empty threat.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 5, 2021

      Hats off to you! My karma is so shitty, I’m sure they’d send deputies over to compel me to appear. And fine me. I might try your way next time tho!

  4. Marie A Bailey
    October 5, 2021

    I’ve been summoned a few times, in CA and FL and served on a jury twice. As an introvert, I dread having to interact publicly or privately with strangers, but as long as I kept quiet, people forgot I was there … which is great because you can observe more when you’re invisible.

    Both times I served were for interesting (to me) cases: one was the case of an prison inmate who had been caught attempting to escape (CA). The defendant was a black man, the jury was all white with a couple of rednecks thrown in. The defendant’s argument was that he was being threatened by some other inmates and wasn’t actually trying to escape as much as he was trying to get the correctional officers and prison administration to take him seriously. I thought for sure the majority would want to convict him. I didn’t want to. I believed him. Witnesses for the prosecution (which included correctional officers) convinced me that the officers on duty were negligent. They were lazy in how they testified, a little too sure that the inmate didn’t warrant due process. We learned that the inmate was going back to prison no matter how we decided. So we voted to acquit. It was unanimous (40+ years later and the story still surprises me). We pissed off the prosecution and the judge (who actually threw down a stack of papers he was holding), but we all went home satisfied we had done the right thing.

    The second case (FL) was shoplifting. This was interesting because we got to watch a store video of the defendant (a girl) and her “accomplice” pretending to be browsing while they surreptitiously hid stuff. The girl was supposed to testify but over lunch she accepted a plea deal (she was young–a teenager–and everyone suspected she was more or less forced into participating by an older male relative). The judge was kind enough to explain how we (the jury) still provided a service: our presence plus the video brought it home to the girl that she was in trouble and that she’d be better off taking a plea deal. I was relieved. Although I found the case and the proceedings interesting, there were too many extroverts in the jury.

    Well, good luck!

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 5, 2021

      Interesting that you’ve had two criminal trials and I’ve had nothing but civil ones (though I did talk myself off of a drunk driving case once!). If I knew I’d be on a criminal case, I might have a different take because it would have real meaning. Civil cases are usually boring and full of gray areas, and at the end you have to assign percentages of responsibility to the parties. It’s all about $$$.

      • Marie A Bailey
        October 5, 2021

        Yuk, I wouldn’t want to be on a civil case … people at their pettiest.

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