The Prairie Spy
Alan “Lindy” Linda
A recent trip to my snowy mailbox down at the end of the driveway produced a letter from the Jury Summons Processing Center for this county. Oh for joy: A summons for jury duty. I’ve never served on a jury.
I know without being told that jury duty is nothing like you see on tv; it’s maybe weeks of first being herded in and out with a couple of hundred other people, all of’em sneezing and coughing and walking around with asymptomatic Covid or who-knows-what contagious flu or cold. And for sure, bad attitudes.
And then, being on call for the actual membership in a jury.
The thing is: I’ve managed to reach this advanced age, you know. It brings with it a nasty amount of physical decrepitude which takes a lot of attention to hold at bay. Common sense seems then to avoid contagious germs every chance I get. Meaning: crowds.
Luckily, advanced age is reason enough to be excused. I don’t have to bring up stuff like common sense and large crowds in the midst of an epidemic.
But should I not be this old, here are some reasons other people have used to try to get out of jury duty. (Yes, there are valid reasons. What I’ve shown here are reasons other people have tried.)
One juror with a geography issue said simply, “My planet does not believe in the jury system.” FYI: to get away with this takes some documentation. You should say you’re booked on a flight to Mars. Bring some tickets. Print up a brochure, too, show them all the sights to see on the planet. Tell them you’re from Mars, so it’s just a visit to see the old home place. Oh, did you mention: Mars doesn’t believe in the judicial system we have here. Make up some special words, like Bork, or Grankj.
Another prospective juror was excused when she said: “I have a tapeworm. Does he get a say in this defendant’s case? He talks to me, you know.” And that pretty much did it for having her in the juror box.
Here’s another winner: The prospective juror can ask: “Do you want me to go against the prophecy of Jesus–’Do not judge others’?” You should also be able to cite other parts of Romans 1:1-32 about false prophets, which you say, might show up here in the courtroom. (Of course, you’re looking at the lawyers while this voir dire is taking place.) This method is bulletproof, I bet.
Do you know, you might say to the lawyer questioning you: Did you realize that the word “laughter” is in the the word “manslaughter.” Go on to tell about how you think humor is important amongst jurors, because everyone just takes it all so seriously.
Be outgoing. Supportive. Applaud every other prospective juror’s answer. Yell out nice things, like: “Good job.” Or, “Good answer, that’s very insightful.” In other words, you kind of have to be a pain in the butt.
Speaking of butts, one man showed up for this interrogation phase in a dog collar, chewing on milk bones out of a Tuffy bag, barking every once in a while When he tried to sniff…..well, never mind.. That got him out.
One prospective juror brought a couple of rocks. When asked about this, she said that the “old ways were the best, don’t you think?” Hmmmmm. I suspect this got her home early.
When all else fails, look at the defendant and say: “Remember me? It was a cold night. I wore red, you wore blue, we went back to your place and you never called me back. Now! We’ll see who has the last laugh!”
There are several valid reasons not to be able to serve on jury duty.
But they’re not so interesting. If you need them, you can find them on the Internet.