December 02, 2009

Some Women Grate

Poinsettias are coming to a head! So far we have nearly $11,000 in orders, which is... 582 plants. I hear we are down by 40%.

I'm telling you now, I have been BUSY and I cannot imagine this order being upwards of 1000 plants like last year.

And this is essentially what happened between me and the defense lawyer and why I more than likely did not get picked. My tone waffled between flat and sometimes harsh and her tone was very conciliatory. She wasn't an aggressive woman, which unfortunately, probably did not bring out my best as she was pissing me off anyway. She was definitely a Public Defender.

At the beginning, the judge read us many questions. In order they were as follows:

Marital status (state if living with someone)
Significant other's occupation
How many adult children and if you have them, what do they do for a living?
Do you have family or are you close friends with anyone in law enforcement?
Have you served on a jury and if so did the panel come to a verdict?
Were you the Foreman?

For the record, out of 28 women, I was the only professional woman there, with the exception of one nurse. Every woman was a waitress, worked in a daycare, or was older and had never worked. I would estimate that every single man was a professional of some sort. There were IT guys, a military pilot, an executive... I cannot recall one that was not.

I found that odd. This is 2009. Out of nearly 14 women, only two of us were professionals. And you could have heard a pin drop in the room when this conversation took place... I was Juror #1:

Judge: and your profession
Me: engineer
Judge: *pause* really. What kind?
Me: I work in the aerospace industry.
*big pause*
Judge: Really. Do you work for company XYZ?
Me: Yes, as a subcontractor.
Judge: Hunh.

And then the Prosecuting attorney asked questions for 30 minutes and then the Defense attorney grilled us for 90 minutes.

So she started with me.

Atty: Mrs. L, you stated that you don't have any family or friends that are in law enforcement.

Me: No, I did not. I stated I did not have any CLOSE friends who were in law enforcement.

Atty: So you don't know anyone in law enforcement?

Me: I never said that. I said I don't have any close friends or family in law enforcement. I have lived in Palm Beach County for nearly 24 years. I know scads of people in law enforcement.

Atty: Are they acquaintenances or friends?

Me: They are NOT close friends as the original question stated. I would put them more in the friend category because they are the parents of my children's friends.

Atty: So would you believe a law enforcement officer over a regular person?

Me: I'd look at the facts.

Atty: But if it was their word, would you believe the officer over the regular person?

Me: I will look at all the facts. I will look at the FACTS. But if you are talking a 'he said/he said' scenario, where I don't have any facts to go by and I have to choose one, I'm going to pick the person who took the Oath to uphold the Law.

And it went kind of downhill from there with me whenever she asked a question because when she changed the question to the folks in the back as to whether a law enforcement officer would lie, I felt like she was trying to trick me with her questions, twist my words, or had some other meaning I wasn't catching and it really pissed me off that I had to literally think with every question, wondering what game she was playing.

By the end of her question answer session, she was grilling juror 2,3,4, and 6 in my row, but had repeatedly skipped me and number 5 who I suspect was mentally ill.

I got lumped with the whack job.

I was tired of sitting, my back hurt, I was cold, I was getting a migraine, she was irritating me, I was convinced this guy was innocent, I had a kid in high school in the library waiting for me since 3:30 and it was nearly 5, my blood sugar was dropping, and I was trying to figure out what in the hell I was going to do if I got selected because I had to take Bones somewhere at 5:30 and I had already put my husband on alert to pick up 'library kid'.

I straightened my legs out, bent down and stretched my back, sat back up and stared into space when as an absolute frickin' after thought the attorney said, "And Mrs. L, how do you feel about this?" I said, "I agree..." and she moved on.

I wonder if the guy got off.

Posted by Boudicca at December 2, 2009 11:10 PM

So, Law inforcement are not "regular people"? What kind of people are they?
If they are not regular people, what other groups are not regular people?
Are lawyers and judges regular people? (yeah, I know all the lawyer jokes - been married to one for like a bazillian years, and hell no they are not normal - but then just like everyone else, no two are alike so...)
Are doctors regular people? How about rocket scientists? IT/computer geeks, are they regular people? Are musicians regular people? Artists? Actors (NO!)? Politicians (anyone holding elected office)? How about teenagers? are they regular? Old folks? I understand they tend to have some problems with regularity...
Are those people who sit all day in toll booths breathing exhaust fumes regular? What about the guys with the stop/slow signs on the road construction crew? The lady behind the glass slidy window in the doctor's office, the one who holds the fate of your day's schedule in her hands, yeah her - is she regular?
Is regular the same as normal? What is normal...

Posted by: patti at December 3, 2009 08:27 AM

Now you know why I bring a copy of "Crime and Punishment" with me to read while I wait voir dire.

Posted by: The Thomas at December 3, 2009 08:58 AM

Patti: I could be wrong, but I think by "regular" people vs. police officers, they were simply asking if Bou would automatically believe the government's evidence or testimony more than she would the defense's.

Posted by: George P at December 3, 2009 11:18 AM

I was taking exception to the idea that police are not regular people - cause yeah, I know a few too and the ones I know are a)good folks, b)took that oath, c)take their role as protectors seriously, and d)are regular people
However, as in any population there are good regular people and not so good regular people. There are cops that do their damndest to do a good job, and there are cops that are on a power trip.
At the end of the day, Bou has the perfect attitude for a juror and our system would be well served if all jurors had a "facts ma'm, just the facts" attitude. But I'm sure Bou was not displeased not to have to spend more time observing our court system in all its frustrating glory. Even if a bit curious about the facts of the case at hand...

Posted by: patti at December 3, 2009 11:45 AM

As a fellow female engineer, I have been there as well. I once was called for Jury duty, and it was a murder trial. They had a pretty large pool of jurors and for the first 30 minutes they paraded us in and out to seat us to get the right mix. After the first seating where I was maybe juror candidate 25 (first quartile), I found myself moved consistently to the last three. And coincidentally (or not, snort), those last three people were a lawyer, another engineer (from a big oil company) and me... For several rounds.

Why no, I did not get seated, why do you ask?

Now that I am a manager with no retained engineering skills, I wonder if I would make the cut... Hmmmm....

Posted by: jck at December 3, 2009 12:57 PM

As the programmer for a major bank and also at an insurance company while consulting it was just a PITA to show up. I had to be there for 3 panel seatings before I could go home. As soon as they found what I did I was excused every damned time and every damned time I had to stick around until they have gone through this mess 3 times. I have never had to serve yet. I wonder if I would get chosen now that I am retired.

Posted by: dick at December 3, 2009 10:14 PM

"Regular people" is a very poor wording, but I guess it's too much trouble to use a better description of non-law enforcement people and the attorney figures everyone will get the drift.

Yes, I get the drift, but it grates.

I so get the whole migraine thing, that's awful. I can actually feel how bad it was sitting here reading your description.

I was able to skip jury duty when my kids were young. I keep waiting for a summons again. In the Chicago area I only got one summons in the 24 years. It's very odd.

Now that you repeated your Q/A I'll have to think about the questions they asked you. I have to think up a title for my job since we don't have titles and I do many things. LOL.

Also, I'm trying to think if I know anyone in law enforcement - lawyers yes, police... don't know. No one comes immediately to mind, but that doesn't mean I'm not forgetting someone. Heh.

Posted by: Teresa at December 4, 2009 11:46 AM

Bou - All the other professional women have figgered out how to get out of jury duty.

Posted by: Denny at December 6, 2009 05:18 PM