Wednesday, January 28, 2009

14 Angry People!

What do you get when you start with a group of about 200 people, siphon off about 35, ask them a bunch of questions, and then narrow that group to 14?

Answer: A jury of 12 with 2 alternates.

Yes, it's that time again for me to do my civic duty. I've been called for jury duty and actually selected to be on a jury. Now truthfully, I've been down this road many times before but I've managed to foil the selection process. In fact, in the approximately 6 prior times I've had jury duty, I've never even sat in the box and been asked a question. No, I didn't game the system by pleading hardships or exaggerating my inability to be fair and objective. It's just a numbers thing. It's been a weird, random, ironic, selection process that's never produced my name or number. Sorta like the one that results in me never hitting the Lottery..... I suppose I'd better go out and get a ticket now that the stars have aligned in my favor.

Anyway, I've always really enjoyed the "Jury Duty" process. The whole idea of bringing together a group of random individuals from very diverse walks of life and exposing them to information and asking them to collectively reach a conclusion has always fascinated me. I think this is a wonderful social experiment that clearly provides many blogging opportunities. Especially in a city like Los Angeles, where the people and issues can be quite diverse and complicated. While this process provides a fabulous opportunity for me to study new and random people first hand (one of my hobbies) and to observe the execution of our legal system personally, it makes no concessions for time. In other words, I've been plucked out of my normal life routine and thrown into a mandatory setting for at least a two week period which doesn't allow me time to accomplish the things I normally would do Monday through Friday 9-5. You get my drift? I guess it's like being locked in a closet for 7 hours out of the day and then being released and someone saying. Okay, now go do all the stuff you normally would have done while you were locked in the closet plus what you have to do now. Instant time compression! I'm not complaining per se, I'm just acknowledging that I've got to be quite creative and play catch up to keep my work load managed. When am I going to find time to blog and power surf the web for heaven's sake???

Oh well, enough of my feeble ranting......

I decided to smash some lemons and make martinis! (That's one of my new sayings) I'm having a blast in jury duty and making the best of it. I've met some new and interesting people and I've been hanging out and learning more about downtown Los Angeles. I'll try to blog a bit about some of the sites in downtown L.A. real soon.

And by the way, this legal stuff can be interesting. I'm observing quite a chess match in my trial. As soon as I'm able to discuss more of the details I will.

For now, let me ask you this: Have you seen the movie 12 Angry men?

(per wikipedia)12 Angry Men is a 1957 American film adapted from the Reginald Rose play, Twelve Angry Men. Directed by first-time director Sidney Lumet, the film tells the story of a jury member who tries to persuade the other eleven members to acquit the suspect on trial on the basis of reasonable doubt. The film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set: with the exception of three minutes of screen-time split between the beginning and the end on the steps of the court building and two short scenes in an adjoining washroom, the entire movie takes place in the jury room.

There have been two versions that I'm aware of. The 1957 version starring Henry Fonda ,

Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, and Jack Klugman

12 Angry Men

And the 1997 version starring Courtney B. Vance, Ossie Davis, George C. Scott, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Dorian Harewood

12 Angry Men

Each of these productions was worth the time and energy. As soon as my trial is over, I'll carve out a few hours to watch at least one of these again and draw comparisons to my experiences. I've also checked my collection of DVD's to make sure my Perry Mason-Season One was still intact. Yep It's good. My Grandmother loved this series. I'll see if I can get through a few episodes featuring Mason, Burger, Paul Drake, and Della Street as well.

I can't wait. Here's a bit of a preview....


Tami said...

Martinis are good! It will make for some interesting blogging and reading! Looking forward to it....By the way...I've found that a blogging break is fantastic!!! ;o))

Houseonahill said...

Intrepid, Haha!
What a great post.
Being a law enforcement officer, it shreds my hide everytime I get a notice. Can you say TANTRUM? Judges threaten to hold me in contempt and then send me home!

So glad you are taking civic duty so well. Be glad you are not getting paid to do it every day! I am NUTS!

Can't wait to hear all about it from your "smashed lemon martini" perspective ~ you made me to court we go!

Houseonahill said...

@ TAMI, uh oh we're doing it again!

Footsteps said...

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experiences. "Random" can be quite fascinating. It's all a bit backwards of the usual and that will make for some interesting observances, I'm sure!

Footsteps said...

P.S: Saw the play, not the movie...

Summer said...

Martinis are very good. Can't wait until you can share more!

dickster1961 said...

I have never sat on a jury. I was only called down for a possible jury once, but was quickly dismissed. Every time I have had to go to jury duty, I was out of there by lunch time.

intrepidideas said...


Okay... I may take you up on that blogging break.

intrepidideas said...

I didn't know you were in L.E. I get your drift. I suppose you'd grow numb after a while. Or like you - Nuts! Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

intrepidideas said...

Footsteps, I saw the play too. A great cast. Did you like it? I hope you can see the movie. I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts.

intrepidideas said...

Summer, Is that - You can't wait until I share more Martinis or share more of the story? :)

intrepidideas said...

You must be living right! Just plain lucky.