Jury Duty: Or What to Wear?

So by the time you are reading this I will be either on, or “on call” for Jury Duty. Like anyone, I look forward to that civic duty with the joy and anticipation usually reserved for dental visits or perhaps, audits.

They are, of course, unavoidable. Some (stupid) people don’t register to vote thinking that will keep them from being in the pool of prospective jurors, but that will just make sure that you’re never able to vote. At least in California, the pool is from people who hold drivers licenses or state IDs. Unless you want to live off the grid at a rest stop in Idylwild you in the pool to be chosen.

My start date is (was) the 15th, Martin Luther King day. Now I don’t know if we automatically get this off- my last job we did until we were absorbed by a larger company that apparently didn’t care about the legacy of Dr. King and canceled the paid holiday. I assume that it’s just a matter of logging/calling in over the weekend to be told the courts are closed on Monday, but we will see.

I have of course called to Jury Service before. Usually in downtown LA which was actually pretty great when I actually worked there: I would park at work and eat at the very good cafeteria we had there before going across the street to the court buildings. Or, once, down to a bleak corner south of downtown to traffic court, and one memorable time when they did a last minute switcheroo to San Fernando, which, if you don’t know Los Angeles, for those of us who live on the Westside it’s like telling someone who lives in Greenwich Village that they need to get their butt to New Hampshire the next AM first thing. I foolishly decided to take the bus, which took forever, but I could not face driving that far in the AM and expecting not to sentence someone to death. Everyone. Anyone.

I did actually make it onto a trial downtown once: a person who strong-arm robbed a young man of his wallet inside of a convenience store downtown near USC then carjacked someone using the attached car wash to make his getaway. The defendant decided to go to trial, apparently either without being aware of the evidence against him or not grasping it’s significance. First, the robbery/kidnapping occurred in broad daylight. Second (and I wasn’t aware of this) but modern convenience stores have more cameras than Universal Studios, and they are all in use and pointed at YOU. So the first set of evidence was a multi-camera montage worthy of a Brian DePalma movie of the perp from his entrance to the property, through every move he made through the store to his exit in the passenger seat of auto driven by the kidnapping victim, who happened to be a retired nun. So not only did he have cinematic evidence of his crime only missing split screens and an appearance by Nancy Allen, but he had Mother Theresa there in the courtroom testifying about his sins.

He pled out before lunch.

So this time it will be at the Airport courthouse, down past the airport. Waaay past the airport. I think it may be closer to the airport in San Diego than LAX but that may just be my perception from the few times I had been there. I will have to drive since public transportation to the courthouse involves multiple agencies (LA Metro, Culver City, and a lot of shank’s mare) and over two hours. Of course I am hoping that I will be rolling a seven in the call-in dice game and be released daily by phone until the final release Thursday night. If I roll craps I’ll have to appear.

Having done this more than once I know that the rules to get out of it are pretty esoteric. You have to wisely answer the questions in a way that will get either the defense or the prosecution to ding you as a witness. But you have to make it seem realistic: feigning rabies or randomly shouting out may get you dismissed, but it may be into the custody of the bailiff to face contempt charges or a medical professional for enforced psychiatric evaluation. Not ideal since the object is to get out of there clean, by lunch, having discharged your duty in the eye of the court. Nobody looks good in a mug shot, or a strait-jacket. Inappropriate dress also is a bad idea: you want the lawyers to want you gone, not to pi$$ off the judge.

I’m guessing Lana wore Fracas to court..

So I guess the real question is what to wear, scent-wise? Do I just default to something nice that says I am trustworthy, but slightly old school and therefore likely to be a hard-a$$ on miscreants making our city unsafe? Like Habit Rouge vintage, Malle French Lover, or Eau d’Hermes? Something a little more wispy? Something gardenia- heavy like Diorissimo, Aerin Gardenia, or Sarah Horowitz Perfect Gardenia, all of which I have samples of and all of which are subtle enough to not seem like I am consciously trying to bait the court, but enough to glaze me with a layer of Joel Cairo-esque untrustworthiness? Or do I go all out and just pour some MKK or Carnal Flower or Fracas on that screams “I will find everyone in here guilty, and offer to pull the switch on Old Sparky myself!!”

If JAR still had Fermez Tes Yeux and I had it it would fit the bill of the last one perfectly. Except it might read “and I will probably do vile things with the defendant before and after sentencing.”

So I will update as much as possible before this publishes (and if you wish after) to let you know what happens. Have you ever been called to Jury duty? Any god stories? Please share them in the comments, as well as scent suggestions- you never know..

Images: Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

  • Tom says:

    Well, I got off without having to report. So I can clip my nails. I will wear Fracas to celebrate!

  • Neil says:

    I LOVE this.

    Crime. perfume, and my favourite director of all time all in one.


  • Maggiecat says:

    Oddly, I was also called for jury duty this week, but was dismissed late last Friday. Possibly our crazy winter weather had something to do with this. I would probably have worn something pleasant and inoffensive – I received Tocca Colette from my son for Christmas, so probably that. If I had to serve, I didn’t want anyone else to get out claiming they were allergic to me!
    And I did serve once, on a fairly cut and dried theft case. The only remarkable aspect was the swiftness with which my fellow jurors said “her” and pointed to me when told they had to choose a foreman. Apparently Taking Notes during the trial makes you look competent or something (as opposed to being how I cope with having to sit still)

  • Musette says:

    Fracas, baby! FRACAS!

    Just don’t cause one.


  • alityke says:

    I was a practicing NHS nurse for 35 years & we were excused Jury Duty. The NHS was short of qualified nurses even back then.
    Since retirement I’m sure I’m in the ballot so may get the summons one day.
    I would wear Something unnervingly beastly. MKK would do very well

    • Tom says:

      Yeah unnervingly beastly is a good way to put it. But I am kind of leaning toward Fracas. Has that drag queen element when worn by a man that scares Americans soooo

      • alityke says:

        May I suggest some shiny lip salve if Fracas is called for?
        Or my fave ever layering experiment, MKK with vintage Poison lavishly sprayed over. It’s the smell of being late for work after an active midweek night out

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Thus far, I have been called 3 times but never had to actually sit on a jury. Never been amused by how my friends and family have only been called once and that was it. My dad told me that he had to sit on a murder trial. The accused tried to either make it out like it was an accident or wasn’t him. With his domestic violence record against his girlfriend, he was found guilty of killing her. I would go with Fracas.

    • Tom says:

      Yikes! I really don’t want to be on a trial like that. I don’t ever like cop shows. Fracas seems to be the top choice..

  • Dina C. says:

    I hope that if you do get called up to serve your court case is interesting enough to stay awake for. Back in the 90s I served on a business fraud case where a man was accused of defrauding a woman who had been contracted as his corporate real estate broker. He went around her, leased a property, and didn’t give her her commission. It was really obvious to all of us jurors, thankfully, that he was a chauvinistic scumbag. It was a two-day-long case. Just last year I got another letter, but my group wasn’t called up. You could pull a Corporal Klinger from MAS*H and wear Fracas plus full regalia to try and get out of it, but that might win you a psych evaluation.

  • AnnnieA says:

    Am up for jury selection next week. Thankfully it’s white collar crime; 20 years ago, my last time, was for murder. Wasn’t called up, but I probably wouldn’t have been picked as one lawyer didn’t want women with jobs. ???

    • Tom says:

      Doesn’t want “women with jobs”? Okay. Weirdo. IDK what, if I am called, I will get. I do know that the Airport is criminal, but I am not sure that it’s the big stuff..

  • cinnamon says:

    I don’t want to jinx myself so will only say that in the US I was never called for jury duty. I personally hope you wore Fracas. Yes, I believe in civic duty but I guess I’m curious about the reaction.

    • Tom says:

      Haven’t made it so far that I’ve had to show up yet, but I think if I am I will go with Fracas and not clip my disgracefully long nails that are starting to get a little Streisand looking..

  • Maya says:

    The first time I got called up it was for a home burglary and murder that got a lot of press. It was one of the longest and most boring days of my life. Some of the non-chosen were allowed to go home after lunch. The rest of us had to wait until the end of the day to find out. I was not picked. I did keep track of the trial. He got life.
    Now to MO. I moved here, got my license, got called for jury duty. I got out of this one by sending them a copy of my leg Xray – crushed knee and broken femur, 2 plates under knee, long metal rod attached by nails hammered through my femur 3/4 up my leg. Got out of jury duty but would NOT recommend this method.

  • Portia says:

    Can’t wait to read your continuing saga tom,
    Yes, I’ve been called to Jury Duty but being a small businessman means that I am dismissed before getting past the first gate. One day I hope to have the leisure to be a juror.
    Portia xx

  • March says:

    Ha! I JUST got called to jury duty, first time here! In Maryland it was one day/one trial — you showed up at the courthouse and sat around all day, and unless you were chosen for a trial that day, you were done. (I think I did 3 – 4 rounds of that and was never chosen.) Here, it’s until the end of March and I am still … not quite clear how it works? They didn’t need me this week, I’m supposed to get a text Thurs or Fri. I think. But the courthouse is a 10 minute walk so I can’t complain too much.

    • Tom says:

      That was the thing that really used to pi$$ me off. 25 years in LA and I NEVER got called the Beverly Hills courthouse three blocks from my place. Most of my friends di, but they’d send me to San Freaking Fernanado.

      Now the closed it so not an option..

  • Kathleen says:

    Best wishes for very little drama and quick dismissal Tom. I’ve never had the pleasure of jury duty; I’ve been called however, I am not a US citizen and therefore, am ineligible to serve. I got for MKK!

  • MzChrz says:

    Wear something outre’ as the dickens. No stories to tell. I am always dismissed. Must be the barking.

  • Tara C says:

    I had them take me off their mailing list because I spend half the year in Canada and technically don’t live in CA, although I do have a driver’s license. I served on a jury once and was so disgusted by the system I swore I would never serve again.