Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jury Duty Pt. 2


MATTHEW, 22, exits the juror waiting area and lines up outside by the receptionist's counter. His i.d. tag that says "Juror" on it is pinned over the "internet" wording on his shirt, making it read "Juror Predator". The receptionist babbles on about being a juror and thanking the members standing there for being present as though they had a choice in the matter.

Matthew isn't listening to a word she's saying, he's too busy looking around him at the faces of those surrounding him, none of them look happy about being there.

The line begins to move and crowd of people walk through brightly lit hallways and stairwells down to the basement where they are taken to a long sloping corridor. It is as if they are being taken to the pits of hell, or somewhere dark and spooky, like the mansions horror films frequently use.

The group comes to a stop as the come through the sloping corridor and to the foot of two elevators. Little by little, about four or five at a time, each potential juror piles into the elevator and take it to the fourth floor. Stepping out, Matthew is surprised by his surroundings. It was as though they went through some journey, leaving hell and entering heaven, or something that someone might use to represent heaven.

Around him stand great marble pillars that reach to the arching sky-blue, richly ornamented ceiling. In the center of the hallway that they all stand in is a great marble staircase which appears to spiral back down to hell as a great hole in the center of the rectangular lobby reveals us the floors below.

Large, heavy wooden doors guard several entrances to the courtrooms. The group comes to a stop in front of one. The officer leading the group pauses to distribute pencils and paper to the potential jurors. She explains some things that Matthew doesn't really listen to and opens the door for everyone to enter.

The crowd of 20 or 30 people file into wooden benches facing the judge and they all sit quietly. The judge makes a speech about being a juror and the responsibility of the juror that MATTHEW doesn't really listen to and then signals for chosen jurors from the previous day to come in.

One by one additional potential jurors are called up to side bar to discuss what they have circled on their papers and then put in the juror's seat and then dismissed. Finally, after 30 or more minutes of waiting, Matthew is called to sidebar.

---Sidebar Conversation Omitted For Legal Reasons---

Matthew takes his seat as Juror number 8 and the judge asks him some questions.

Please state your name and town
you're from

Matthew Chao, Bloomfield

Are you working now?

(thinking about his internship)
Not really

Does anyone else in your
household work?

My mom and dad

What do they do?

They're both computer programmers.

What do you do in your spare time?

Now? Look for work.

He gets a laugh out of the crowd of potential jurors

Matthew (Con't)
I also like to write, draw... sleep

He gets a bigger laugh out of everyone in the room.

Ok, do you think people in this country
sue too much, not enough?

Sometimes too much, although I think
we're getting a little better about that.

Will that influence your decision in this

I don't believe so

Matthew kicks himself mentally.

Ok, thank you.

The judge calls the next person up to sidebar to speak with them and legal counsel again.

Matthew (v.o.)
Shit! Why'd I say that? That
was just stupid. I should have
said "yes, it will." dumbass!

The judge dismisses the man at sidebar and legal counsel both take their respective seats and talk.


Prosecuting counsel stands up and looks over at the jury.

Prosecuting Counsel
At this time we'd like to dismiss
juror number 8.

Matthew V.O.

Thank you for your participation,
please return to the holding area.

Matthew is already halfway out the door of the courtroom before the Judge finishes, he can hardly contain his excitement.

End (more or less)

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