Moot Court.

It happened again.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to be called up for jury duty every three years for the rest of my life. On the one hand it’s an annoyance. On the other hand I guess it could help me organize my time if there were something else in my life that needed to be taken care of on a triennial basis.
The last time I got called up it was kind of exciting because it was the first time I actually had to go, and I assumed, with a name close to the end of the alphabet, that I’d be excused early and could maybe spend a little time exploring downtown before I headed home. Nashville is a growing city but it’s not a big city and downtown, especially the riverfront, is compact enough that major points of interest are within easy walking distance of each other. And if nothing else I could grab a cup of coffee and hang out at the downtown library. Except it didn’t exactly work out that way. I was eventually excused but only after a grueling day of bored waiting. The only spark of excitement came when one of the defense attorneys asked the potential jurors if any of them watched Star Trek and I got kind of giddy at the thought that the case might actually involve debating the merits of Deep Space Nine versus Voyager.
Since my wife and I are both working from home right now this time getting jury duty presented some new questions. There was a possibility they’d hold the proceedings remotely, letting all of us go to court through Zoom. If they made me come in I’d have to figure out how to get there. I could drive but parking downtown is a nightmare. There’s a parking garage specifically for the courts but it tends to fill up and even if it doesn’t I’d have to figure out how to get my parking validated.
The best option, having thought about it, would be to take the bus. And I was looking forward to that. It would be a chance to sort of return to my old routine, with the extra bonus that I’d be riding the bus all the way downtown. I rode the bus to jury duty last time. The buses are still running and, while I’d want to be careful, it would be interesting to see what the new protocols are. Among other things I doubt they’re taking cash anymore–in fact the fare has gone up to two dollars, from $1.75, I guess so they don’t have to make change anymore. Also I thought, hey, it’ll be something I can write about, which, I confess, is a motive behind too many of my decisions, but that’s another story.
In the end, though, I didn’t have to go. I got another letter saying that under the circumstances I was excused, and I celebrated by grabbing a cup of coffee and spending a couple of hours Googling pictures of downtown Nashville.

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  1. Rivergirl

    I served once and it was the most god awful boring week of my life. Real court is nothing like the movies. It was all I could do to stay awake. I got served two years ago but thankfully they filled the jury before my number was called.

  2. grace

    I’m not sure what the protocols for being on jury duty are, but I am absolutely certain I would do everything I could to make sure I was not selected. I

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think it’s mostly a matter of just showing up and the luck of the draw. Go figure.

  3. Arionis

    I really want to know what trial necessitated a question about Star Trek to the potential jurors. Maybe it was a civil case in which a Tribble farm’s spillage destroyed neighboring property?

    Chris, I’ve been remiss in reading your blog lately. You would not believe how busy I’ve been, trying to lead a life of leisure while maintaining a blog, a YouTube channel, and writing a book. It’s hard work! I will most certainly try to remedy this oversight on my part. Take care brother!
    Arionis recently posted…Never ForgetMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Maybe I should have mentioned it was a murder case. What necessitated a question about Star Trek to potential jurors was the defense lawyer actually brought up Star Trek: The Next Generation and whether anybody was familiar with Counselor Troi and it was a really roundabout way of asking whether we can really know what another person is thinking or feeling. It’s probably the only time in my life I’ve wanted to say, “Dude, stop talking about Star Trek!”

  4. Allison

    I have been called jury duty once in my life. I was 23, I had gotten dumped by my boyfriend of a few years, and I was out of work. Honestly, it was the perfect time for me to spend the day doing something boring. I made it into voir dire with about 80 other people for a murder trial. Looked like it was going to be pretty open and shut. They asked a bunch of questions about bumper stickers, who in our families had been affected by violent crime, and so on. I was at the bottom of the list of jurors, so after the general polling questions, I was not even asked to follow up – they got their jury in the first pool of 20. The best part was the lawyer who got selected after saying very smarmily that he’d never served on a jury because “most people don’t want lawyers on their jury”. When he got selected, the whole courtroom erupted in applause. The judge, a lovely woman named Constance Russell, said (quasi-sympathetically), “Don’t worry – you’ll have time to call your office before we begin.” Bless her.

    Anyway, I got sent home after that, and I remember feeling disappointed because I realized I was useful to no one.

    I haven’t been called since. Don’t know why.

  5. Ann Koplow

    I’ve always wanted to be on a jury and the one time I got close, the prosecuting attorney asked that I not be on the panel. I assume it was because of my profession (clinical social worker) and his assumption that I might be too empathic or soft, which I took as a weird compliment. I haven’t been called for jury duty in years, but I still hold out hope.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2853: Other people’s storiesMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Someday I hope you will be able to serve on a jury. Juries should be made up of empathetic people, and in fact the defense attorney’s question about Star Trek was related to the character of Counselor Troi and was his way of asking if we can really understand another person’s feelings.
      I think you’d be very understanding of other people’s feelings, as well as understanding the Star Trek reference.


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