Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


In the criminal justice system, the people are bored out of their minds

Filed under : New York City
On March 13, 2007
At 10:30 pm
Comments : 17

Well, it’s been an unusual and exhausting day in the New York County Court system and I’m not even a criminal. Yet.

Yes, I was called in for jury duty and like thousands of other saps, I actually showed up. Unlike most people, however, I had high expectations. That’s because last time I served with Jerry Seinfeld. I remember I was so stunned when they called his name out to be in my panel that I snortled inwardly at the poor schmo who had to live life in New York with the same name as Jerry Seinfeld. But then he actually walked up. Long story short (I told you I was exhausted) he was excused, ostensibly because his wife was due to give birth any day but really the judge thought he’d distract the jury. Not that that didn’t happen anyway as he was all anyone (including the judge and the lawyers) could talk about until they inevitably settled and I went home.

Although I didn’t expect to run into anyone famous this time, I was psyched to hear that 100 Centre Street has moved into the 21st Century and gotten WiFi. Score! So I lugged BigMac all the way down to Chinatown with me and prepared to actually have something to do whilst waiting for the call-up. Not so much. The WiFi turned out to exist but not be functioning. The helpful security guy (the place was positively swimming in cops) showed me how his computer wouldn’t connect. “See? See?” he kept saying. FanTASTIC.

It did end up working eventually but naturally as soon as I was settled into the carrel by the window, surfing, working, listening to XM (XM on AOL has a new Mac standalone which is heaven, btw), and playing Quinn Tetris, I was inevitably called. Several people immediately began positioning themselves to grab my prime real estate carrel by the window and I had to pack up and leave. I put BigMac in sleep mode thinking I’d be back or be chosen and get to leave soon either way. Oh bwahahahahaha!

Instead, we went through three rounds of the same question-answer game with pools of 18 jurors at a time. This means I got to hear the life story of 54 people (25% of whom seemed to be dating or married to investment bankers) and such outstanding questions as “Do you think living near Washington Square Park would bias you against my client (who allegedly sold a single crack rock there)?” You could kind of tell which people would say anything to get out of serving on a jury. We had:

  • Oh come on, everybody takes drugs.
  • My (not described) moral stance precludes me from being impartial.
  • Of course he’s guilty. No, innocent. No, right, guilty.
  • I think I could be impartial but I won’t really be sure until I hear the evidence.
  • I tend to believe cops are more credible than regular people.
  • I tend to believe cops are less credible than regular people.
  • Oh yeah, what she said.

Come on, folks! One fucking rock! This thing will be over in two days. I made the third round of “Who Wants to Be A Juror?” but alas, there was no consolation prize for me and having sat in and around the courtroom for three hours, I never got on the computer again. I did get a lunch break so I could destroy my shoulder by hauling my laptop around while munching on Chinese sweet cakes (gelatinous rice ball with chopped peanuts in the center and coconut flakes on the outside, anyone?) and looking at tourists looking at knockoff handbags and faux jade jewelry.

Oh! Message to tourists: If you have gotten away from your local main drag of Olive Gardens and Don Pablos and Panera Breads and you find yourself in a place called Chinatown which is teeming with authentic Chinese restaurants run by people actually born in China, why on earth would you eat at Sbarro’s? Yet it was packed and so was McD’s and BK’s. People! Don’t make me go into Sbarro’s and slap you!

I knew by the end I’d end up a criminal.

The Clash – The Call Up