i was seated for jury duty this month, and — as with all major life events — my initial response was that i should live blog the whole thing.

but, a couple things held me back.

first of all, while the jury is free to talk about the case after it has been decided, it’s not permitted to talk about it before a verdict has been rendered. needless to say, this puts a pretty big damper on the “live” part.

second, i respect the whole judicial process enough to (a) be hesitant to air my version of other people’s dirty laundry, (b) not want to be focusing on blogging when i should be concentrating on the evidence before me, and (c) i really don’t want there to be enough specifics for anybody associated with the trial to track be down and either thank or assault me.

as a result, there’s nothing here that discusses the substance of the case, i didn’t publish anything until well after the case was over, any times have been redacted and the times would have been unreliable anyway because i did all my “blogging” during recesses.

so, yet again, my live blog is pretty far from being live.

xx:xx why am I always the first one to show?  I should have learned by now.  in government, the early bird just waits longer.
xx:xx the Boston red sox used to be the cincinatti red stockings.  not sure how I feel about that, or the fact that I learned that today in the jury room.
xx:xx too much oxygen is pumped into the juror services staff room.  the prople giving the orientation are way too happy.
xx:xx no more Ken Burns baseball, we’ve moved onto crowd-favorite (and queen latifa vehiccle) secret life of bees.
xx:xx female attourneys/clerks wearing heels on tile floors sound suspiciously like clydsdales.
xx:xx Dakota fanning would make a credible meth addict.
xx:xx fellow jurors?  jeans and sweaters.  potential perps?  best suits I’ve ever seen.
xx:xx man, some of these attourneys look really young.  or really old.  did anyone graduate law school between 1950 and 2000?
xx:xx being seated.  i’m 54th of 70 for 14 jurors.
xx:xx person next to me’s light reading material: 10 Year Strategy to End Homelessness.  further proof our city ain’t like your city.
xx:xx person next to her?  reading the Belgian inheritance.
xx:xx who architects courtrooms?  really, is there a practice/specialty required to make everything round and panel the walls with cheap pergo?
xx:xx the whitenoise machine they use to keep bench conversations confidential is going to come to blows with me.  I feel like there are subliminal messages in there telling me to kill, kill, kill.
xx:xx this trial is about stuff that is waaaay more exciting than I really want to be participating in.
xx:xx i’m pretty sure “au bon pain” is French for “stale, crappy food.”
xx:xx I got nervous about making it to the bench, but apparently they interview everyone, and come back through again for the formal selection.
xx:xx the good news is if I don’t make this jury, it’ll be difficult to imagine that I’ll be back in the lounge for enough time to get selected into another one.  the bad news is that i’m going to make this jury.
xx:xx if I ever saw a DC cop that wasn’t 6 ft 2 inches, 200+ lbs with a buzz cut, I’m not sure I’d believe they were legit.
xx:xx this, but still not wild about being legally responsible for deciding someone’s residence for their forseeable future.
xx:xx seated as part of the last group.  that keeps up my perfect “selection” record, having been seated each time I’ve been summunsed.
xx:xx jury is 60% female, and two-thirds white. I wondered if I was going to have problems when the five of seven people excused before I was seated were 30ish white men. big departure from my previous experiences.
xx:xx sam waterston has created such a high bar for prosecutors, it’s a wonder that anyone gets convicted anymore.
xx:xx I want to google the defendant’s name so badly…
xx:xx paranoia is sinking in.  I’m genuinely skiddish that I’m going to be approached by someone associated with the case, even though it’s never happened to me on any prior cases.
xx:xx do people really do illegal things just for kicks?  on tv everything is always a crime of passion, and for some reason that’s more okay to me.
xx:xx no one on either side of the aisle knows how to craft a narrative.  I honestly think both lawyers need message training, or should let me ask the questions.
xx:xx heard the story today of a juror who was late coming back from lunch because she went shopping.  judge asked her what she bought, and then fined her the cost of those items.
xx:xx one of the attourneys’ is trying to force being angry (and doing it very badly) to throw the witness.  feels like he must watch the “You can’t handle the truth!” scene from A Few Good Men every night before he goes to bed.
xx:xx … oh, and his forced histrionics are really pissing off the Judge.
xx:xx if I ever go on a crime spree, I’m going to retain good counsel beforehand.
xx:xx people make me sad.
xx:xx more juror reading material:  International Economic Management textbook, the New York Times, Other Boleyn Girl, an Excel spreadsheet, three iPhones and two Blackberries.
xx:xx the phrasing of “The Govenment calls ______ to the stand” really skeeves me out.  Way too Orwellian for my taste.  The fact that DC’s “local” procecutors are actually Feds (an artifact of our being a Federal district) just makes it worse.
xx:xx I’m pretty sure that i’ve caught the counsel smirking (twice) as witnesses have beaten back clumsey, ham-fisted attempts on cross to discredit their testimony.
xx:xx It seems obvious in hindsight, but I’m having a hard time coming up with anybody who wants to be in this courthouse right now.
xx:xx If we need juries for cases like this, I think juries should be required for weddings held up stairs … it seems unfair to know that, as soon as you get seated, you’re going to be depressed for the next week.
xx:xx Turns out that the person who was most ornery about being seated is an executive assistant to a member of Congress.  Why is that not surprising to me?
xx:xx … she’s also taking notes with a holiday Christmas light bulb pen.
xx:xx can’t imagine how lonely it must be to be a defendant on trial.
xx:xx pretty sure a juror is wearing a tennis skirt and running tights to court.
xx:xx the marshall (?) tasked with guarding the defendent has fallen asleep.
xx:xx the attorneys can identify and discuss evidence that doesn’t meet the burden to be formally introduced.  that strikes me as strange … if they can talk about it, why can’t we see it during deliberations?
xx:xx overheard during deliberations, thrice: “maybe I am watching too much television, but why didn’t the police ….” damn you, CSI.
xx:xx I’m struck by how civil jury deliberations are, even in the face of strong opinions and widly differing world views.
xx:xx just heard not one, but two references to “Twelve Angry Men” during deliberations. i honestly thought i was the only person under 60 who had seen that play/movie.
xx:xx during jury instructions, judge mentioned a case in another jurisdiction had to be retried because jurors became facebook friends and discussed the case during recess from deliberations.
xx:xx the jury definately has it’s lions and it’s lambs. half are actively debating the merits of the case, and half seem content to follow along.
xx:xx the guy next to me is/was a Leeds United fan.
xx:xx I will say that the thoughtful, inclusive nature of the deliberation has restored most (if not all) of the faith in humanity I lost during the trial.
xx:xx Consensus. I’m going home and hugging my baby girl.

in other news, I’ve been summoned for grand jury duty this spring … which I am actually looking forward to a bit more. in grand juries, the burden of proof is lower, and the reprocussions (an indictment) are less severe.

grand juries are also allowed to indict a ham sandwich, and that sounds like fun.

UPDATE: You’ll never guess what happened the week of my grand jury summons. this and this. i’ll never be this lucky, again. ever.