Monday, October 12, 2015

Tales of Juror Selection

While the foundation of our legal system is based on trials by a jury of peers, sometimes it's hard to fill the court dance card, except for the unending number of defendants and attorneys making their livelihood as remoras on the system.

The periodic need for jurors had occurred again for the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, and the judge signed off on another slate of potential jurors to serve as a jury of peers in a number of coming criminal cases. Naturally, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys scrutinized the list of potential jurors; but this time none of the names stood out. Apparently none of the attorneys or the judge had any familiarity with St. Cletus's Parish or the Marigny District First Baptist Church.  Thus, they were totally in the dark as to what these summons dragged in. While the potential jurors looked promising, there were some curiosities.

Having spent a hard night dancing at work, Suzanne the Existential Stripper came in costume. Well, she re-dressed for the beginning part of her act and waited in the courtroom.

Crazy Chester appeared in all his splendor. He listed his occupation as a equine actuary and gave the judge a tip on today's daily double. Criminal Court took an unusually long lunch recess and the judge came back smiling.

Madeline the Prophetess was also present. She requested a delay in service so she could do a novena for an L.S.U. win. Her delay in jury service was duly granted.

When asked by the judge to explain her reason to be excused from jury duty, Marie d'Aquin replied, "I was going to get a boob job." She was handily excused, but asked to come back to show the results!

When asked about his beliefs, The Lucky Dog Guy said, "Jury nullification and Dixie Beer." All of the decision-makers sensed trouble, and let him go. Loyola philosophers are a force to be reckoned with.

Crazy Chester was asked if he had any biases that might affect him making an impartial judgment. He said, "I just can't trust his defense attorney; he graduated from the Ole Miss School of Law and is surely a scoundrel!"

Clotilde Badeaux was channeling Princess Leia and dressed the part, even to the squash blossom hairdo.

Brother Bob asked if he could have a moment for Divine Guidance while serving on the jury. The District Attorney protested, saying Bette Midler should not tamper with the jury.

Al Gautreaux asked to be excused so he could surreptitiously film the Saints' opponent while practicing. He was excused with the judge's blessing.

Yvette the Mortician was also called. One of the lawyers asked if she knew any of the prosecution or defense lawyers. She responded, "You picked me up in a bar five years ago."

Henrietta, the Voodoo Queen, was the first impaneled. The defendant promptly pleaded "guilty," as did the prosecutor.

Another defendant, when seeing the empaneled jury, said, "Is this what you consider a jury of my peers? These losers are too dumb to get out of jury duty!"

An unidentified bouncer from Bourbon Street asked the judge if he could daylight in court as a bouncer as well as have his nighttime job.

The jurors who were the chosen ones were taken to a nice restaurant each day they served. Justice rewards the virtuous. They were, however, limited to two beers apiece for lunch.

No such limitations were placed on the court reporter or the bailiff.


Atomic Dog said...

Getting called for jury duty usually means losing money while serving.

Linda Kay said...

I've been called to jury duty several times. On the times that I was able to appear, I was excused after waiting for an hour or so to be called. I'd really like to get a chance. You have such a way of naming and describing people reporting for jury duty!

Mike said...

I've been on two juries. On the first one we had a woman that was in a hurry to make a decision because she had to get home and let her dog out.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

I was called twice. We sat in the audience seats while waiting to be assigned, but nothing happened either time. The judge was a d-bag.

John Hill said...

I was on a panel for jury duty and we were to be available for 90 days. During that 90 days I served on a brutal double murder case (4 yr old child and teenage babysitter) that was declared a mistrial on the third day of the trial.
I also served on a case of child molestation and one civil case about damages for a pedestrian that was struck by an automobile.

The one case that I was dismissed from was interesting.
It was a right of way case where the state was widening a highway taking the property of the store owners along the road. Because of the steep grade behind the businesses, taking a way the parking in the front was essentially putting them out of business. One of the owners was challenging the amount of money that the state was paying them.
Before selecting the jury, they eliminated anyone that had been involved in a similar case or knew someone involved in such a case. Then they gave their definition of "fair market value" which was some gobbledy gook crap that sounded something like -- the value of a property determined by a buyer that doesn't necessarily want to buy it from a seller that doesn't necessarily want to sell it.

When they got to me (unfortunately, I was one of the first ones), I said that I didn't like their definition of fair market value. They should have excused me and left it at that but they had to ask, "Why not?"

I said, "In a fair market, if a seller is trying to sell to someone that doesn't want to buy, he offers a discount. If a buyer is trying to buy from a seller that doesn't want to sell, he has to offer to pay a premium price. That's the way a fair market works."

Needless to say, I was dismissed.
The problem came when the next guy said, "I think I agree with him!"
And the next one, and the next one and they couldn't get a jury that day!
The judge came in and yelled at us all and I think he would have liked to throw me in jail. But we were all dismissed and they had to wait for another panel and another day to decide that case!
(Sorry for the long comment. I should get my own blog!)

Cloudia said...

I prefer not to think too much about the tedium of court! But you make it amusing here, Angel



allenwoodhaven said...

An interesting cast of characters! I've been called 4 times over many years, but have never gotten on a jury.
I don't consider it a waste of time but as a civic duty. They should revisit the renumeration though. Here in NJ they
pay about $4/day.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I had to serve in two civil cases that dragged on. Still it was interesting to see how bumbling the DA was!

Sinner Bob said...

Divine Miss M Guidance?

Gorilla Bananas said...

Henrietta the Voodoo Queen should have been appointed judge, jury and executioner. There's no need for a trial when you can find out who's guilty by sticking pins in a doll.