Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Civic Duty: A Retrospective

First off, sorry about jinxing the weather. Yeah…my bad.

Despite an all-day (albeit fragmented) stay at the courthouse, I was not selected to be on the jury of the aggravated assault domestic violence case to which I was assigned. As the attorneys gave their final list of jurors to the judge “privately”, I heard the judge whisper my last name. The attorneys both agreed on the reason I was not selected, but I could not hear what they said since their backs were to me.

As you may guess, I’d like to possess that info. I can only guess it has something to do with my demographic status as a white male engineer, exacerbated by the fact that I disclosed I had been part of a hung jury. (Heh.)

The odds weren’t so great for me being excused. Of the original pool of 40 potential jurors, six were excused early on for various reasons. This is pretty interesting:

-One woman had an ongoing medical condition that would have made it really difficult to sit for 90 minutes at a time. Fair enough.

-One woman simply raised her hand for every question the attorneys asked. “Do you know anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence?” Yes, apparently 296 people in her family have been victims. “Would serving today and tomorrow cause a hardship for anyone?” Yes, apparently she has a car in the shop and a husband who needs a ride to work and a sick grandkid and a daughter who just moved back in…. “Do you know anyone involved in the case?” Apparently she’s heard of the district attorney, who isn’t involved in the case, but that should count, right? Point being, she was obviously trying to go home, and she was wasting everyone’s time, and she was visibly rolling her eyes and saying things under her breath…just kick her ass out. Give her what she wants. They finally did.

-One woman said she was a victim of prolonged domestic violence, but as a Hispanic woman (the defendant was also Hispanic) she was part of a different culture, was brought up a different way, and couldn’t really be impartial. Say what you will, but I lived in that culture for a while, and what she says is valid. I understand.

-One woman…well, she survived some horrible things. Dismissed without objection.

-One guy knew the alleged victim. Obvious dismissal.

-Finally, when the defense attorney asked if anyone would have a problem being impartial because the defendant was Hispanic, a guy in his mid-20s, a Carhartt jacket, a buzzcut, and a mustache raised his hand. “I’m just a boy from the South,” he said. The defense attorney (a black guy) said, “Then may I infer that you would not only have a bias against my client, but also against the black man who is serving as his counsel?” “Yep.” Gone. Whether he meant it or not, he had huge balls for saying that in front of a bunch of strangers that was about 60% black. Most glaringly, as I looked out at their faces, it barely fazed any of them.

Anyway, I could have been involved in this:

WYANDOTTE COUNTY Gossip Inn trial begins
Testimony began Monday in the trial of Brandon S. Hulett, who is accused of shooting Gossip Inn bartender Lori Reynolds to death.
Hulett is charged with first-degree murder in the April 19 shooting. Authorities allege he fired several shots throughout the bar and aimed directly at Reynolds, 44. Several bar patrons who witnessed the shooting are expected to testify.

2 comments:

Craig said...

I know where the Gossip Inn is, I used to live a few block from it. My grandpa used to pitch horseshoes there, in fact he we pretty good and evidently its similar to pick-up basketball in that the winner stays and plays and the next team. Well, my grandpa would own that horseshoe pit. Oddly enough I never went inside myself.

I've always wanted to do a Western Wyandotte County Pub Crawl. Starting down at Chicago's on 6th St. and working our way up Central Ave.

JJSKCK said...

I've heard Chicago's is a cool little place. My pub crawl would probably land me in Strawberry Hill instead of Central Avenue. How could you pass up Fat Matt's Vortex?