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$$ off the judge.
So I guess the real question is what to wear, scent-wise? Do I just default to something nice that says I am trustworthy, but slightly old school and therefore likely to be a hard-a$$ 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