Sandman Jazz has given us another of his Sandman’s Writing Challenges. This time the starting point is:
You are due to appear in court, what is the case and in what capacity are you in the court?
It was 9:00 and the beginning of the third day of voir dire, or jury selection. They needed to select twelve jurors and six alternates out of the original 150 in the jury pool who started out.
At the start the first day, the bailiff called out 18 names, each assigned a numbered seat in the jury box. One by one, they were questioned by the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the judge. Some were accepted, some were excused. By the end of that day, they had worked their way through almost three dozen prospective jurors.
There were only two vacant chairs by day three and six of us remaining in the available pool. By midday, there was but one vacant chair and two of us left in the pool — me and a twenty-something young woman. She leaned over to me and whispered, “I so want them to pick me. I’ve never served on a jury before.” I wished her luck.
Sure enough, hers was the name the bailiff called. Upon hearing her name, she squealed with delight. When she took her seat in the jury box and the questioning began, she started giggling and could not stop. She kept apologizing, trying to explain how excited she was to be serving on the jury, but after about five minutes of non-stop giggling, it was too much for the judge.
“Young lady, you’re excused from jury duty,” the judge said, and instructed the bailiff to remove the nearly hysterical woman from the jury box.
The judge looked at the bailiff. The bailiff looked at me, motioned for me to come forward and to sit down on chair number 18. “Shit,” I muttered to myself.
Without either attorney or the judge asking me a single question, the judge said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have our jury. Court is adjourned until 9 am tomorrow,” and she slammed her gavel on her desk.
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