Jury duty today. I like the old courthouse in Des Moines so much better. I always imagined everyone dressed in 40’s garb. I appreciated how the stairs were actually wearing away from decades of criminal feet…like this glacier of iniquity was reshaping the landscape. The Antelope Valley courthouse looks like it was made in the last decade. It was a nice facility and all, and the jury assembly room was definitely superior with tv’s and vending machines and whatnot…I’m just a bit of an antiquarian, at least when it comes to buildings.
I came very close to being a juror this time…to the point that I was actually called into the jury box and voir dired. I was ultimately rejected by the prosecuting attorney, a younger, hotter version of Tina Fey. The defense attorney was a ringer for Mena Suvari. The defendant looked like a cross between Afroman and Forrest Whitaker, with the hair from James Brown’s mugshot. He was charged with violating a restraining order…I think if I had been chosen to stay for the trial I would’ve been in for some serious Maury-type shit. The defense attorney even warned us that during the course of the trial we might hear some offensive language…in particular the word “bitch.”
I’m not sure what exactly it was that made the prosecutor excuse me…the two marijuana possession charges in my past (degenerate) or that I said that if I disagreed with a law I would find it necessary to invoke a jury veto (subversive). The judge responded by saying that I would be instructed to interpret the law as he explained it, whether I agreed with it or not, and that there are people who write and enact laws and that should be left up to them. But fuck that, jury veto was written into the Constitution to give citizens a means to speak up about laws they feel are unjust. It gives the common man an opportunity to act as a fourth branch of government, to serve as another balance in the system of checks and balances designed to protect our liberties. To wield such a power is not a subversive act, it’s a patriotic one.
The drive home from the courthouse was a golden one. Thrilled to have been spared the inconvenience of a 5-7 day obligation as a juror, I started the car and Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta started playing. While stopped at a red light around the corner from the courthouse an F-15 flew over on its way to Edwards AFB. Farther down the road I saw a rather impressive dust devil. It’s wonderful how subjective life can be sometimes, that a joyful heart can delight in relatively mundane things. It’s worth the flipside of the equation, where despair can turn life into a world of shit.