May it please the court

Today was day 1 of jury duty {you can call me Madame Jury Foreman}, and I have to say that it was pretty interesting. I'm a confessed L&O junkie, and have been singing the theme song for the better part of the week in anticipation. I didn't think I'd actually get to serve, since most cases are settled before the trial begins. There are seven of us total: six jurors and one alternate who listens to all the testimony but only gets to weigh in if something happens to one of the other six. This is a civic case, where we'll be finding for damages rather than determining whether someone is guilty or innocent.

It's still hard.

You hear about the heightened emotions in the courtroom - heck, that's why it makes such great drama, right? Our beloved Volpone hinges on several of those dramatic moments (and it's taken all of my willpower to not break out into song in this courtroom!) But the aspects of the trial that have touched me are centered around the innate humanity of it: that each person involved is essentially calling the other a liar. (In a very civilized manner, but liar nonetheless. In a very, VERY small room. Lil' miss non-confrontation would have a reeeeally hard time with it.) That the events is question happened years memory is such a sieve, I'm not sure I could answer questions about the weather or what I did on any given day in 2004. That a group of strangers are concentrating like blazes to make sure they're totally informed about the events of these two people so that they can be fair to both. I like the idea of being fair, but it's such an elusive thing in real life.

The plaintiff and the defendant only speak for themselves in the most choreographed way. Objections are rarely dramatic but sound more like rude interruptions. Explanations are cut short, too much information given is summarily struck from the record. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to ache to tell your side of the story, but only be permitted to in tiny bites. (Like learning a score one measure at a time, rather than being able to listen to a recording or play through the whole thing. ) The counsel for one side tries to clarify, the other to obfuscate, and then they change roles. The situation is rigid, but the tactics they use are fluid.

In a way-too-over-the-top manner, maybe Volpone wasn't so far from the mark.
It feels like a big, big responsibility.

I just hope that we can do right by both folks, although I'm not sure it's possible.

Settling in for an evening of solitary domestic bliss. Laundry, garbage out, a mushroom swiss burger for dinner, and new tv on the tube.


Popular Posts