This past month, I've become way too close to the law. I just can't escape its long reach! Today, I checked the mail and found a jury summons. That means, come Monday, I have to get up early and go to the courthouse, to see if they will use me as a juror or not.
Every year and a half or so, I get summoned. I get up early, put on my pressed, business attire, and try to find parking near the courthouse. Then I wait for hours, along with the other jurors, as we are divided and then taken to the courtrooms for jury selection. There, the lawyers and judge decide whether or not they can use you on the jury after a series of questions. If you're lucky, it's all done by noon. But the last time, we didn't finish til 3 pm. It could be worse. I've heard other jurors who were on call for about a week!
Now, I don't mind doing my duty as a citizen, but I've never been chosen to be on a jury--some of my answers make me undesirable to either the defense or the prosecution. So I feel like I've wasted a whole day. They do pay you ten dollars for that first day, but then they make you feel guilty and push you to donate that money to some charity or other--since the gov't officials have all ready wasted money originally slated for charity. And if you're there past noon, you'll definitely want to buy lunch.
What really sucks about this summons is that I'm supposed to be off on Monday! So instead of sleeping in, flipping thru the tv channels in my underwear, then heading out to the beach, I have to get up early and dress appropriately and spend my day off in a gov't building! I've been thinking about finding a good excuse to get out of jury duty. But I don't seem to meet any of the disqualification criteria. Although, for a short while, number (4) seemed promising.
GOVERNMENT CODE SEC. 62.102 TO QUALIFY AS A JUROR YOU MUST:
(1) BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE;
(2) BE A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES, THE STATE OF TEXAS AND OF NUECES COUNTY; IF YOU CLAIM NONRESIDENT STATUS YOU MAY NO LONGER BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN NUECES COUNTY.
(3) BE QUALIFIED TO VOTE IN NUECES COUNTY (BUT DO NOT NEED TO BE REGISTERED TO VOTE) ;
(4) BE OF SOUND MIND AND GOOD MORAL CHARACTER (IF NOT, MUST BE CERTIFIED BY COURT);
(5) BE ABLE TO READ AND WRITE IN ENGLISH;
(6) HAVE NOT SERVED AS A TRIAL JUROR FOR SIX DAYS DURING THE PRECEDING THREE MONTHS IN A COUNTY COURT OR DURING THE PRECEDING SIX MONTHS IN A DISTRICT COURT;
(7) HAVE NOT BEEN CONVICTED OF A FELONY;
(8) NOT BE UNDER INDICTMENT OR OTHER LEGAL ACCUSATION OF MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY THEFT OR ANY OTHER FELONY.
How would the court certify that someone doesn't have a sound mind and good moral character? You don't need a court to figure out who's crazy! I'm pretty sure that I can spot the crazies and the insane without any help.