Monday, April 27, 2009

Sadie Hawkins

Jury selection began in my case today. I thought it would have taken only one day, but we're going to be back at it tomorrow. Of the first twelve, four will be excused for cause, meaning we'll need to seat their replacements, voir dire them, and potentially obtain more "volunteers" from the galley.

I think jury selection is the closest I'll ever come to understanding what Sadie Hawkins dances are like for women. Sixty people are called into the galley. I look at them and form snap judgements regarding their prospective suitability. Then twelve are called into the jury boxes to answer questions. The first series of queries are generic, then each side gets to ask specific questions.

Technically speaking, the attorneys are allowed to ask questions only to determine the legal suitability of a juror. But really, they are used to pry into a person's soul, to determine in the span of two minutes the reach and depth of their passions and prejudices.

Interestingly enough (at least to me) is the fact that jurors seem to take the questions very seriously. You don't really hear people espouse views that they think will get them off the hook, even if in other ways it's obvious that they'd like to be excused.

The courtroom works a kind of magic on the people inside. They seem to understand the enormity of the circumstances, and it ennobles them above their parochial concerns. It really is a sight to see, and I say that as no friend to my fellow man.


Jackson said...

"I say that as no friend to my fellow man." Haha, you have such a great way with words.

LeperColony said...

My secret is that I steal from novels written in the 19th Century.