A couple months ago I received a jury duty summons and immediately panic set in. Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t advocate shirking our civic duty. I actually think I’d be a good juror, open-minded and fair. Except, that is, if you’re charged with abusing an animal. In that case, my friend, I’d be the last one you’d want on your jury.
In my 64 1/2 years, I’ve only been summoned 4 times. I have no idea why and hopefully I didn’t just jinx my run of luck. Hey, life is busy and finding time to sit on a 2-week jury would be difficult. There are ferals to be trapped and sterilized, others to be re-homed. But I’m guessing that wouldn’t exactly sway the judge.
Let’s just say when I got the summons, I secretly hoped I’d hit the jackpot and get a 2-day civil trial, like a DUI case as opposed to a weeks-long criminal trial. Marin County isn’t exactly the murder capital of California, so odds are I’d get the former. Hum…maybe two days of sitting on my behind in a jury box doesn’t sound so bad after all. I could use a break from carrying traps and lifting heavy cages.
The closest I ever came to being on a jury was about 17 years ago. My mom didn’t have long to live so I didn’t want to spend precious time inside a courtroom. When I heard it would be a long trial, I panicked (again). Luckily, I realized I actually WAS biased against the defendants, the builders of a research institute where I’d seen the immense damage it caused to numerous plaintiffs’ homes residing in the shadow of that monstrosity. So it was, as they say, music to my ears when I heard, “Strike for cause.”
Then there was the time my hubby at the time, Jim, was foreman on a jury. The defendant acted as his own attorney so he was entitled to the list of the jurors names, addresses and phone numbers. I’ll never forget the morning I stepped out of the shower to answer the phone. It was the defendant, if you can believe that, threatening Jim’s life if he found him guilty. I immediately hung up and called Jim, who urged me to leave the house.
Turns out the defendant spent his break calling multiple jurors homes, threatening whomever answered. And all from the courthouse hallway phone! Evidently he was not only a criminal (who, as it turned out, was accused of pulling a knife on someone) but was not a particularly bright one. You know what they say…
A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client
Anyway, when I opened my summons recently, I chose a different date (as allowed). I researched and figured odds were against being called for jury duty right before Christmas. So I chose December 19. And you know what? I wasn’t needed in court that day! I admit I felt a tinge of guilt about that, but one of these days I’ll probably be chosen for a month-long trial. My payback. Again, you know what they say…
So on the 19th, instead of sitting on my behind in a courtroom all day, I finished my annual goodie platters for 63 people associated with my nonprofit, Marin Friends of Ferals. I tell ya, after making loads of sweets: 3 batches of English toffee, a couple hundred Ritz crackers filled with peanut butter then dipped in chocolate, 123 Annie’s crispy cookies, 4 batches of cinnamon-sugar pecans and 63 pumpkin-cranberry muffins, I sorta wished I’d gone to court.