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


17 Comments for this post

  1. KP says:

    I’ve only been to jury duty once and I was PG with my first. I asked if I could be excused from it because I was basically using the bathroom every 15 minutes at that point. I was told “Believe it or not, we actually let people use the bathroom in this courthouse”. Jerk.

    Seriously, we had like two 30 minute breaks and a 90 minute lunch and I had to stay the entire day to be told they didn’t need anyone. There has to be a better way to do this.

  2. Sarpon says:

    Maybe the tourists are afraid to eats foods which are described as “gelatinous.”

  3. Alex says:

    “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?”

    Becca, you’re mocking my homeys. Just remember the Ruby Tuesday/Bennigans’/Friday’s from Rockville Pike, OK? And then, remember that that’s more cosmopolitan than where we live now.

  4. Becca says:

    KP, it’s not too bad today. I’m actually getting more work done here at court than I usually do at work. No one calls me or pops into my office. Except cops.

    Sarpon, what? Sbarro’s pizza isn’t gelatinous?

    Alex, I only mock them when they come here and don’t take advantage of food that isn’t the same whichever town you go to, not in their own environment. OK, sometimes then too, but not in public.

  5. Celia says:

    How do you know they are tourists? Couldn’t they just be people who work in the area–the courthouse, perhaps?–who don’t want to eat Chinese food every day?

  6. Becca says:

    OK, now I am going to have to poke fun at other parts of the country. But Celia made me!

    I don’t think lawyers and court employees wear bright colors, stone/khaki pants, fanny packs, big hair, and travel in packs of 5-10 with kids.

  7. Sarpon says:

    Oh, my word! You saw me at Sbarro’s taking my staff out to lunch and you didn’t come over and say hello? They aren’t kids, they’re short, loud, ill-behaved employees. With runny noses and Heelies.

  8. Becca says:

    I figured that was you wearing the “Mid-Michigan Community College” sweatshirt and pink loafers, Sarpon.

  9. KP says:

    Who doesn’t want to eat Chinese food every day?

  10. CSIGirl says:

    Ok, I’ll admit it,I would have been one of the people at Sbarros. Don’t judge me because I hate Chinese food. 😛

    As for jury duty, I have only been called once and I was one of the lucky people who sat on the jury. My trial lasted 2 days and I am happy to admit that WI has one less sex offender on the streets. At least for the next 2 to 3 years. I’m lucky, in my county you get to call in the night before, so if the case is cancelled or settled you don’t waste an entire day at the courthouse.

  11. Becca says:

    I’m sorry, I was busy tweaking my footer and didn’t notice that people were up here commenting (check out the hover, wooooo).

    KP, yes except sometimes a person needs sushi in her life as well.

    CSI, OK, that is acceptable. You are forgiven in advance. Just don’t wear a fannypack.

    And I was theorizing with my boss (who lives in a county where you can call in) that the WiFi is supposed to ease the burden of not having the ability to find out in advance whether you’re needed.

  12. Alex says:

    Uh…that’s some sweet hover on your footer, Becca.

    (Is that what I meant to say? Does it mean anything whatsoever? It sounds more than a little bit suggestive.)

  13. Becca says:

    Oh, Alex! I spent my whole afternoon re-coloring the RSS logo to match my theme (orange is ugly, no orange will be involved in this blog), not to mention the WordPress button (navy is also taboo). As I mentioned, I don’t have Photoshop so I did it pixel by pixel in MS Paint.

    I also took off the XFN link because I still have no idea what that is and added a Creative Commons License instead. Plus, I removed the cryptic “WP” link and found a (previously navy) button with which to replace it.

    The hover is when you move your cursor over the item and see a message. That’s to explain to folks like yourself what each thing means. I tried to make it more explanatory than it was.

    You still don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? And even if you did, no one should really care but me. So never mind, we can just continue to make jokes about hadavar b’smol over IM then.

  14. JFB says:

    Your footer looks good. I knew you were modest about your WP skills.
    I loved this post by the way.

  15. Becca says:

    JF, thanks, I’m learning! Each day the files become less of a mystery to me. And thanks for the Digg, my first. 🙂

  16. JFB says:

    Yeah but this Dick really was a pain. Some people have a cruel lack of humor. It must make their life a hell.

  17. Becca says:

    Agreed, but that, “call me by my last name” thing really made me laugh.

    He asked me to remove all his comments and I did. I had already deleted the three negative ones so there was only one left anyway.

Comments are closed.