Blogging from Jail

San Francisco Jail

Well, I’m not actually in jail, but I am blogging from the jail. I’ve been summoned for Jury Duty selection… oh joy of joys. The way they do it here in San Francisco is they have you call in every night for a week to see if you are supposed to report the next day. Last night was my lucky night :(

The good news is they have wireless access here. The bad news is it’s $6.95 a day. I just got here so I’m not willing to pay it just yet, so I may be posting this from home later. If it ends up looking like I’m going to be here for a while I may break down and fork over the cash.

We just received an orientation from a court clerk. He made it sound like we’ll be here for a while, and may be sent to several court rooms for selection. That $6.95 isn’t sounding so bad now. He also explained that if we are selected to serve on a trial, we’ll receive a whopping $17.50 per day for our valued service. Although, if you are employed by the State of Federal Government, you don’t get anything.

We’re now watching a spiffy video presentation on Jury Duty. It’s thrilling. It kind of reminds me of those bad instructional videos they played in grade-school. It’s actually trying to convince us that Jury Duty is educational, and down right enjoyable. All the people in the movie seem thrilled to have served.

The video is over, and they just announced a judge will be here in about 5 minutes to go over some things with us. They also said they need a lot of jurers today, so I’m getting the impression that this may be harder to get out of than I thought. At this point I’m not sure if I should buy the internet access or not. I may be bouncing around from courtroom to courtroom all day, and not have much opportunity to use it. We’ll see what happens.

The judge hasn’t come in yet. I’m looking around the room and I would guess that we have about 200 people in here. From where I’m sitting I can see that 5 other people have laptops out. I’ve heard some grumbling about access should be free (I agree). Unfortunately, there’s only one other Mac user in sight. The other 4 are PCs. I hate it when that happens. Don’t you just love when you walk into a Starbucks (or anywhere with access) and see mostly Macs? I do.

At this point I’m wishing I had brought my power cord. I still have a bit of charge, but it won’t last the day.

Someone just came in with a court reporter and made us all stand, raise our right hand, and swear to do something-or-ether. The judge came in after that and gave us a pep-talk about Jury Duty. He proceeded to tell us about being excused due to hardship, like health issues or if English is not your primary language. He actually said “… if you can’t understand what I’m saying, you should go with group “A” and apply to be removed from service…” Does anyone else see the problem with this statement? In the back of my mind I had thought I may be able to say I was self employed, and couldn’t afford to be on a long trial. Unfortunately, he specifically mention that being self employed is not a good enough reason to be excused. Oh well.

The judge went on to say everyone not seeking to be excused (Group “B”), can now leave, and come back on Thursday for selection. WTF! Why did I go down today if they just want me to come back on Thursday? I’m glad I didn’t buy that internet access.

I’m back at home now and ready to post this. The picture above is of the jail, as seen from our balcony. I’m hoping when I go back on Thursday I don’t get picked to serve. The judge said that this particular trial is expected to last about a month.

I was called up for selection once when I lived in Phoenix. During the selection process the judge and lawyers ask you a series of questions to see if you would be right for this case. When it was my turn, I said I thought the guy definitely looked guilty… they quickly released me. I wonder if that will work here?

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