Jury Duty 2: Electric Boogaloo

This past Monday, I was summoned to appear at the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse for jury duty in District Court.  This was my fifth time being called overall, my first time in District Court, and my second tour of (jury) duty in as many months.  Unlike last month’s trial, this go around consisted of a trip downtown on Monday and a lot of reading on Monday before being let go for the day and… that was it.  No need to report for the rest of the week.  Hopefully, I get a nice long, multi-year break before my number comes up again.

Doing My Civic Duty

This past Monday, I was summoned to appear at the Will County courthouse for jury duty.  This was my fourth time being called overall, and third in Will County.  All previous sessions have ended without me making it onto a jury and, considering I had plans to attend Purdue’s opening game in the Big Ten Tournament earlier today, I was hoping for more of the same.  Alas, it was not to be.

The call for a jury pool came late Monday morning and, after an early lunch, we had to report back at 12:45.  Which we did, but nothing happened.  Eventually, we were brought up to a courtroom to wait some more until the judge and attorneys were ready for us.  By the time we made it into the actual courtroom, there was not enough time to complete voir dire.  After returning to the courthouse on Tuesday morning, the jury was selected: twelve jurors and two alternates.  I was the second alternate.  At this point, we were told that the trial would take about two days and should wrap up by Wednesday afternoon.

And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  The trial started Wednesday, so I figured I was still safe for Friday’s game.  But then there was more waiting.  After two witnesses, we had to wait for the third, who had left the courthouse to pick up her children.  Which, I will say, is understandable.  But the jury was told to make other arrangements for child care, so I don’t know why the same standard didn’t apply to the witnesses.

More delay tactics on Thursday morning, including calling all of the jurors back in one by one to ask if we had been deliberating before the end of the trial, which then led to a wasted afternoon as the judge had prior commitments and necessitated our return on Friday.  After closing arguments, we deliberated for far longer than I had expected to come up with the verdicts: guilty on four counts of domestic battery and not guilty on one count of resisting arrest.

The good news is that I’m unlikely to be called back for jury duty in the Will Country Circuit Court for some time.  The bad news is that I am already on the docket for Federal District Court next month.  Hopefully, that goes more smoothly and doesn’t take up another entire week.

A Different Point Of View

Five years ago today, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Tesla.  I took possession in late July and, until a few months back, sent a good portion of my paycheck to Elon Musk each month.  Which meant something different in 2017 than it does in 2022.

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Musk has, in more recent times, aligned himself with the fringe right wing.  He has recently announced his intentions to purchase Twitter, promising “free speech”, which the right wing has taken to mean it will be open season on any minority or marginalized group.  Persons who have been previously banned for their bad behavior on the platform are expected to see their accounts restored.

Two weekends ago, I was pulling into the parking lot at Guaranteed Rate Field and there was someone in the car parking next to me who seemed very excited by my car.  I’ve had people comment on it in the past, because they are still somewhat rare, but never to this level.  I acknowledged his interest with a head nod, existed the car, and started walking towards the stadium.  Which is when it occurred to me: maybe he wasn’t excited by the car itself, but what Tesla, and Elon Musk, now means to him.  And does that meaning include attacking minorities and marginalized groups?  Suddenly, it may not be such an exciting time.