Wednesday, April 20, 2005


fri, mon and tuesday i was in the fine courts of san francisco's civil division, waiting for the slow laborious process of jury selection to wind its way to a conclusion.

this was the closest i've come to sitting on a jury, and I was as fascinated by the whole thing as others seems furious and/or completely bored. the first afternoon consisted of dismissing people who had vacations planned or some other obvious excuse as to why they would not be able to sit.

it didn't really get interesting until they started picking jurors and talking about the case and the issues of being a juror. the questions and answers were all highly philosophical and hypothetical: fairness, whether we could put feelings of sympathy for cancer patients, dislike for money grubbers and ones expertise aside, the consideration of corporations as people, etc etc.. a weight of heavy issues and thoughts, brought out by the judges and lawyers.

Lawyerly gamesmenship I'm sure was in play, framing for the jury the outlines of their case, laying the groundwork for their arguments and evidence, using a difficult juror as an example before asking them to be dismissed... I was sorry I had not kept better track of who said what and who dismissed them. I wondered if there is a "picking your jury for dummies book." The people in the jury room were all over the map, but mostly older in the end, people who've been in the city longer perhaps.

There were 5 or 6 outspoken ones, all with some angst or another, all of whom were dismissed.

I was sad not to be picked so I could not see it all play out. There's always next year.


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