Those of us who were left stood to and listened as another list of numbers were read off. These folks were to stay seated and stand by, those whose numbers were not called had to go out in the hallway and form a column of twos. It amazes me how some civilians cannot follow simple directions.
There were people by themselves, then three across, then another single...
The Master Sergeant in me wanted to scream and start herding the miscreants into a proper semblance of order and discipline. Didn't need to though as the sheriff quickly took charge and got the herd of cats into something resembling a column of twos.
Those left behind in the lounge? They were sent home. Their time as a juror was complete, see you in three years. Maybe.
Once again I had made the cut. Part of me was "yes," another part was "what are the odds?" So a part of me wanted to be on a jury, another part wanted to be done with it, thank you for playing, see you in three.
But it was not to be.
Once that was done it was lottery time. The court clerk had this wooden barrel on his desk which he would spin and then call out the number of the lucky winner. That person, unless "sidebarred" would take a seat in the actual jury box.
Now once the number was called, the two teams of attorneys would go through their notes and, based on those questionnaires we filled out on Monday, ask the judge for a sidebar if they saw something which gave them pause. A private meeting off to the side with just the legal beagles, the court reporter, the judge, and the potential juror present. Sometimes the potential juror got to take their seat in the
After sitting through quite a number of call ups, sidebars, and damn few "take your seat in the jury box" events. My number was called. I barked out "Here" in my best military fashion and stood up.
I waited as I knew that I would get sidebarred for any number of reasons. First off I was brutally honest on the questionnaire which gave both the prosecutors and defense attorneys something approaching the willies I guess.
Indeed, the lead defense attorney announced "Sidebar Your Honor!" So we all pulled pitch and headed for the sidebar. Here's how the first bit went, according to my best recollection...
Defense Attorney, Mr M: "Now on question 28..."
Your Humble Scribe: You'll have to refresh my memory Counselor as..."
Her Honor, The Judge Presiding: "What? You didn't memorize the questions?" - said with a big grin on her face.
YHS: "Why no Your Honor, I haven't had time yet."
Lead Prosecutor, Ms. D: "Haven't memorized the questions? Oh dear."
By this point, the court reporter, the judge, all four attorneys, and Yours Truly are all having a good laugh thanks to my irrepressible wit (some might call it puckish smart-assery) while the rest of the court sits in puzzled silence. But we got on with it, I mentioned that I had answered all of the questions with brutal honesty, expressing some doubt at being able to remain dispassionate depending on the testimony given, and my experience as a bailiff back in the latter years of the 20th century.
I also assured those assembled that many years ago I had sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of this fair land and that I held that oath to still be in effect and to remain in effect until the day I join the "choir invisible." (Though I doubt they'd actually let me sing. Voice like wind through a rusty drain pipe, that's me.)
Without actually reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and pulling Old Glory to my bosom and such, I convinced those assembled that I could be fair and consider the evidence to both the State's and the Defendant's satisfaction.
I then took my seat. Number Nine to be precise. Nine of Fourteen in Borg style reckoning.
There were more questions to be answered once a group of fourteen had been selected (12 primary jurors, 2 alternates for those keeping score at home). First the prosecutor stepped up and, wouldn't you know it, addressed me first...
Ms D: "Juror number X, you'll recall what we discussed during the sidebar?"
YHS: "Ah Counselor, we discussed many things..."
Laughs all around the court, I tell ya, I was rocking that place...
YHS: "But yes, I remember what was discussed."
After many assurances of my ability to be (unlike Fox News) fair and balanced, the attorneys moved on to
A couple of people were let off because they had actual vacation plans scheduled for next week. The judge let them slide, which I thought damned decent of her. Then there were a couple of peremptory challenges by both teams of legal beagles. They have a certain number of "let that one go, don't have to explain" challenges. Which they exercised to a certain extent.
Then the prosecution said that the State was satisfied with the panel. Which of course sent the defense team into a quick strategy conference. So, of course, they issued a couple of challenges. Three more people were sent off, more sidebars occurred until finally, both sides were satisfied with the panel.
So by three of the clock we had a jury, fourteen fine upstanding American citizens, all of whom, in talking with them, seemed to be reasonable and smart folks. I daresay were we ordered into the hallway to form a column of twos that it would be done right smartly.
Well, as smartly as civilians can do that kind of thing. But the jury I'm part of seems able to follow instructions and, I can attest, are all able to count to two. I daresay some of them are quite smart, no doubt smarter than Your Humble Scribe, though that latter feat isn't all that difficult. My cats outsmart me from time to time. Of course, cats are pretty smart in their own right.
While I am something of a rocket scientist (no, really) I am not always the quickest on the uptake.
I mean it took me five years to figure out NaCly Dog's call sign.
Think about it.
Anyhoo, the trial will probably last a week and a half and you won't hear anything about it from me. That, of course, is verboten, forbidden, and just not done. I'm not even allowed to talk about it with myself.
This is going to be an "interesting" week. But from what I can tell, I'm serving with some fine people under a most competent judge. And the sheriffs all seem to have a good sense of humor. So far...
This was not stuck in my head all the way home, though it is now. If you need it, I'll give you the Old AF Sarge's patent remedy for ear worms. Tomorrow.
Yes, I'm cruel like that.
Perhaps you like this better. I know I do.
Yes, I do like Korea, why do you ask?
Now don't get the wrong idea, I respect those ladies for their singing. That's it. After all, I'm old enough to be their 할아버지. (No, seriously...)
Just call me "Number Nine."