Reporting for Jury Duty in Downtown Sacramento
My husband cannot figure out how I got to be the age of 61 and never called in for jury duty. I don’t know, either. I’m a registered voter. But today, that lucky streak is over. I am called to report to Superior Court in downtown Sacramento at the bright and early hour of 8 AM. I had asked for an exemption because I am the sole breadwinner for my family, and I am self-employed. To serve on a jury for any extended period of time would be a hardship, but I guess I made the mistake of mentioning that I am a Sacramento real estate agent, because my excuse was denied. It’s fun to be part of a profession that is despised by so many by mistake.
Serving on a jury has me freaked out. My husband, an unemployed journalist who used to cover the court many years ago in Chicago, gave me a practice run down, so I’d know what to expect. Shot a series of questions at me. Scary stuff like: “Have you ever committed a felony?” Whoa. I don’t know. Have I? I suppose I could have somewhere in my past, let me think. You know, I was a teenager in the 1960s. What exactly constitutes a felony?
He accused me of being obstructive and obtuse. I was being completely serious. I don’t know if I would make a good jury person. They say things like you must know whether a defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. I can always find reasonable doubt. Well, except for maybe O. J. Simpson. Good thing I wasn’t on that jury because we’d still be in deadlock, or whatever.
Sometimes, you can just look at a person and know they are guilty. Know what I mean? I can look at photos of people who are now dead in the death notices in the newspaper, and I can tell if they were nice people or total jerks. It’s in the photos, their eyes, the way they hold their mouth; I can sense the sincerity of the smile, the wrinkle above the eyebrow, and let’s not even get started talking about hairstyles.
I will be asked to set aside my thoughts, not to analyze, no prejudging and to base a decision based solely on the facts presented by opposing sides who are trying to twist the law into their own favor, and I really don’t know if I can do it. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person.