Friday, June 27, 2008

Jury Duty (not the Pauly Shore movie)

There's a reason our judicial system doesn't work. Everybody hates jury duty! It's a waste of time. It's boring. You're forced to interact with the dregs of society. You're treated like a peon. You barely get paid. And, you can get arrested for not showing up.

Imagine how stoked I was last week when I got summoned to Denver County Courthouse to serve my annual jury duty. Personally, I like my job. This would not a be an exciting little break where I get to pretend I'm in my own little episode of CSI. It would cost me thousands of dollars to be away from the office and it would make me stressed that I was falling behind. Plus, it would be a pain in the ass, especially if I got picked to be in a trial.

Of course, I got picked to be in a trial. There were 60 of us in the room for jury selection. We would be whittled down to 12. The judge informed us that this was a rape case and that if were one of the 12, we would be there for at least 2 weeks.

I had to get out of it!

All of a sudden, a vibration in my pants gave me an idea. I would Google the case on my cell phone. Find out too much to be an objective juror. Then, get dismissed with the quickness. It was brilliant. I pulled out my Blackberry, hid it behind the enormous weave in front of me, and I Googled away.

I found out that the defendant (a 300 lb. black man) was accused of raping and beating 4 women in broad daylight. Even if I believed in our judicial system, I didn't want this maniac knowing I was responsible for putting him away for 20 years.

We were all handed questionnaires to fill out. In the section that asked if we knew anything about the case, I gloriously wrote, "EVERYTHING!" and proceeded to explain my cell phone hijinks. About 15 minutes after the questionnaires were collected, I was called into the judge's chambers. I thought this was it - I was going to be dismissed and I'd be back at work in time for lunch. I was wrong.

In the judge's chambers sat the judge, two prosecutors, two defenders, AND the rapist. They all looked very mad. The judge began by telling me that I could be found in contempt of court for jury tampering and I could be in jail by the end of the day. That got my attention.

For the next hour and a half, I was cross examined by the judge, the two prosecutors, the two defenders, AND the rapist. I claimed ignorance. They claimed contempt. I claimed stupidity. They claimed contempt. Finally, the judge let me go back into the courtroom, but told me that he still hadn't made a decision whether or not to put me in jail.

Later, the judge came out of his chambers, told everyone in the courtroom not to talk to me, and proceeded with jury selection. For the next 9 hours, I sat there. The rapist kept staring at me angrily. No one in the room would talk to me. And, I couldn't use my cell phone, It was hell.

During a break, I came up with another idea. I called my buddy who's a crime reporter for our local news paper. I told him that if I went to jail, he should write an article entitled, "Web CEO Arrested for Using Web". It would be great press for my company. Shit, I'd get locked up for PR any day. Now, I was content and waited for my golden cuffs to come.

Eventually, I was let go. On the way out, I asked the judge why he made me wait so long knowing damn well that I couldn't be a juror. He said it was to teach me a lesson for being an asshole.

Yes, I'm an asshole, but at least I'm not an asshole who had to spend 2 weeks determining the fate of a large rapist.


Anonymous said...

I loved being on jury duty in Denver last year. But then, you actually like your job. I can see how this might pose a problem for you. Next time, instead of risking arrest, just wear your "I'm kind of a big deal around here" t-shirt. That says it all. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I would expect nothing less than a story like this. Nice work Mike. :-)

Anonymous said...

You're mine.

Anonymous said...

When you said something about it on FB, I knew it would be a great story. I'm glad you shared it.
Too bad you didn't get locked up. I've never been to visit a friend in Jail before. Always putting yourself first.

Anonymous said...

you are an asshole

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. What if you were wrongly accused of rape and child molestation? Wouldn't you want a fair trial??? How do you propose to get that trial without a jury? We all benefit from that little thing called "The CONSTITUTION".
Move to another country where they can chop off your hand as punishment for a crime you didn't commit and with out any chance of having your side presented.