Thursday, May 31, 2007

No better service to your community...

As I mentioned before I was so excited to be contacted about jury duty. Because of the lack of justice in so many areas including the legal system, I am excited when I get to really make a difference. I think jury duty is especially critical for Black people to take seriously because this is a time when your experiences and judgment are respected.

I don't consider myself a "conspiracy theorist" but there is a heck of a lot of stuff that I question. Knowing me, you know that this experience couldn't go off without a hitch.

As I was reading all the materials that came in the mail I realized that in my county (or State?) you serve for a calendar month. So after the first day of orientation you call in each night to see if you are due to come in to be considered for a trial. I have waited 20 years for this and today was my first day. Here's how it went...

8:30 a.m. Orientation- I'm in this room of about 300 people. I was surprised with how many Black people I saw. Mostly there were Black men!!! (This is great since so many defendants will probably be Black men.) After roll call the judge comes in and explains that some of us will get to be on the grand jury for June. I wanted to jump up and say, "Please pick me!!!" In case you don't know, the prosecutors present their reasons for wanting to put a person on trial then the grand jury decides if there is enough to indict the person or if the person can go free and not be charged. It was a random selection of 12 jurors and 3 alternates. We are called by number and not name so I guess it is pretty random. The first man called was Black. Then another Black man. Then me and the Black guy next to me started smiling. Some white people who were called said that they had conflicts, so they called another number and by the end of it 6 of 12 were Black and one of the alternates was too. I think there were only 5 women too. We joked that this was going to someone's lucky month to get that many Blacks on one grand jury. (Not that we all think alike, but you sure have better odds of someone being suspicious, oops, I mean, critical of the information presented when they are Black). It was looking to good to be true. Then before we took a break and the grand jury was escorted out, the prosecutor asked to approach the bench. When we came back from break, someone mysteriously had a conflict and they had to select another person. She was a white woman. This is "mysterious" since they gave us the dates and the chance to opt out of the grand jury 3 times before they were sworn it. I think the prosecutor didn't like the make up and pulled someone.

I'll let you know what happens next, but of course I can't discuss my cases. Just my experiences.

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