Thursday, October 02, 2014

tranquilosophy: justice

As I reported to jury duty Monday morning, I had no idea that it would consume the rest of my week.

Prepared with hours of reading and editing material, plus my laptop and Daybook, I was eager to hunker down and work after three days of learning in New York City.

Alas, it was not to be. Within minutes, my number was called.

I got most of my editing done during voir dire, went off to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (where I pretend I'm in Paris) for lunch, and returned to learn that, indeed, I was a chosen one.

We heard opening arguments, testimony from the first witness, and were excused late afternoon. Off to Tranquil Space I went to teach into the late evening.

The next day included more witness hearing and closing arguments. And the next day began with instructions from the judge and concluded with a hung jury. We returned this morning to hash it out, only to remain hung.

Throughout the process I smiled, sometimes winking out of habit. At the attorneys, judge, defendant, witnesses, and fellow jurors. A friend recommended I bring in smelly stickers and fuzzy pens. Le Beau referred to me as "an angel of justice." And I proudly parked my pink bike near the courthouse entrance.

I contemplated bringing in vegan muffins this morning (with secret hope of persuading the two holding out on the coveted "Not Guilty" verdict), but was running behind. You gotta stay true to yourself. Even in court.

Although I'm disappointed we didn't reach a verdict, I appreciated the process that transpired between twelve strangers in a fluorescent-lit, windowless room. We were respectful. We brought varied experiences and biases. We tried to understand each other. And, ultimately, we sought justice.

Sure, taking 3.5 days out of my life was inconvenient. But so is an unwarranted felony on someone's record. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to serve.

And I'm equally delighted to make shift happen as I return to my schedule beyond the large grey building housed at 500 Indiana Avenue. Now sans pink bike out front. Bisous. x

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1 comment:

Kate said...

What a great post. I think that jury duty has such a bad rap, but it's such a privilege to have the system we have, and be a part of the civic community. Thanks for sharing!