Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm always picked (lyn)

Two days of bad eating.  A muffin and coffee for breakfast and a Fiber One bar for lunch.

Two days of running over to the Jil Sander 85% off sample sale.  I end up paying little for a black pencil skirt and a black “hammock-style” dress. 

Two days of sitting around catching up on reading.  I finish three old copies of PEOPLE, two issues of NY Magazine, and almost half of The Darlings by Cristina Alger (it’s great).

Two days of meeting new people from all different professions and backgrounds:  among them, an utterly obnoxious radiologist, a recently-graduated college student with a Masters in the psychology of jury selection, a sweet practicing nurse from Ireland, a non-stop talker, and a retired detective.

This is, I think, my fourth time reporting for jury duty.  Last time was ten years ago when I served on a grand jury for a month.  I listen to my friends tell their stories.  Two days or less and they are dismissed.

I arrive on Wednesday, and watch a twenty-minute movie about the process.  Harry Reasoner narrates.  I guess the process hasn’t changed much in the past 21-years; Mr. Reasoner died in 1991.  

The big waiting room is filled with maybe 200 prospective jurors.  19 names are randomly selected; mine is the 18th name called. We are directed to a smaller room where two lawyers greet us.  It is their job to select a 6-person jury for a trial.  Here are the basics of the case:  a man has been found negligent of a 2005 motor vehicle accident where a woman claims to be injured.  The jury will need to decide if the back injuries the women now suffers from were caused by the car accident, and if yes, do they meet the state’s definition of serious injury.  If the jury finds they do, then the jury will decide the monetary award, if any.

They lawyer questions us in order.  I am number 18 (of 19 in the room).  I am sure I won’t be called, as clearly there must be six qualified people among the 17 before me.  I expect the vetting process to be tedious and boring; it usually is.  But this group is vocal and contentious, and, the two lawyers appear to hate each other. Listening to the interviews becomes almost entertaining.

The group is asked to raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth.  One woman says, “I don’t swear to G-d; ” she refuses to be sworn in.  Soon after, another woman says she doesn’t feel it is her place to judge people.  Someone else is combative in her declarations.  “I think it is wrong to ask for pain and suffering.  People today sue for anything and everything.  Look, bad things happen to people.  And just because they do shouldn’t mean you can sue.”

In the end, I’m one of the six chosen. 

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