June 19, 2007

I had jury duty yesterday. It was easy to get off the jury. The case was for a "convicted violent felon" who was caught with a firearm. I told the commonwealth attorney that I did not believe that felons should have their constitutional right to keep and bear arms taken away. Wham, off the jury.

I actually do believe that. I don't see why if you have served your time for a crime (which obviously this piece-of-shit violent felon should have) you should continue to have to pay for the crime. Why can't you vote once you have served time, for instance? The process is quite evidently designed to disempower a large part of the population, generally poor and very often black. It is compounded when crimes are made felonies, such as drug offenses or such things that are unpleasant but hardly cause for taking away one's liberty for a time and their right to exercise clear constitutional provisions: such as cockfighting.

This convicted violent felon had a witness in the case. I was struck that this gang banger was dressed in typical baggie gang banger wear for the court. I, in my uptight honkyness, was surprised that the lawyer didn't recommend wearing, say, a plain shirt that did not have an overlarge Japanese cartoon drawn across it, or perhaps pants with a belt. Forget about a tie.

The people on the jury were entirely of the working class. Each of the 25 initial selectees had to tell their occupation and their spouses occupation. None of them had a job that required a college degree. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and it did likely make for more than a jury of peers for the convicted violent felon. But is nevertheless striking (though not surprising) that this randomly selected cross section of society included zero professionals. I am the only chump who didn't figure out how to avoid jury duty (third time I have been called, too). The occupations mentioned were "cashier at Citgo," "customer service rep" "stay at home mom, my husband is in the Navy" and so on.

The defense attorney asked the 25 initial picks if any of them would be more inclined to believe the testimony of a police officer and about 7 people raised their hands. The attorney barely concealed a smile when that softball was asked.

The jury, as selected had two young african-american guys and the rest were older african-american women. That must mean something but I don't know what.

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