Friday, January 09, 2009

Let Me Be The Judge Of That


So here I am, juror number 206, sitting in the juror assembly room. I have not been called for a case but I am patiently waiting, having read the New York magazine from cover to cover and learned all about the best new restaurants of 2009, the new Mamet play and the latest exhibit opening at MOMA.

It's been a pleasant---or at least not odious---experience so far. The parking was plentiful, free and easy to locate. The chairs are comfy, the court house is within walking distance of several decent restaurants and I even have free WIFI. It's kind of like a better version of an airport terminal, without the screaming babies. (Oh yeah, and no mildew.)

After checking in, the morning started with an orientation video that reminded me of those black and white Bell Lab films they used to show us when I was in high school. It did a good job of explaining who works in the court room, the trial process and the job of the jury. I'd like to get a copy of it for my beginning forensic students. It ended with the chief judge telling us that he hoped our jury experience would be "educational and rewarding". Then they turned on the movie, title forgotten, starring big name actors in a G-rated film I had no interest in watching. They told us if we didn't want to watch the movie we could go to the designated 'quiet area' in the snack room, so here I am. The young dude slacker sitting at the table next to me doesn't get the concept of a 'quiet area'. I really didn't need to hear the story about him seeing an alligator eat a dog.

It feels a little weird knowing that I've spent more time in front of a jury than in a jury box.

It's a little weird knowing that any of the ninety criminal trials scheduled today could involve one of my former, current or future patients. In my jury qualification form I clearly documented that I work in a prison, that I evaluate criminals, that I'm greatly needed and would be missed if called away for several days. I'm hoping somebody reads this.

Obviously, if I actually get empanelled I won't be blogging about the experience or talking about the case. Also obviously, if one of my patients shows up at the defendant's table I'll let somebody know I can't serve. I just hope he doesn't holler out in the court room, "Doc, I really need my medicine upped!"

(There's a guy here reading a Climbing magazine. Small world. I wonder if he's reading about Chris Sharma's new 5.15 route---the first in history---that he did over three months and after several 90 foot falls.)