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|Subject: Jury Duty||Date: 11/14/2012 8:34 AM|
|Author: alstroemeria||Number: 46218 of 70856|
I was quite enetertained by jury duty yesterday--the parade of humanity, the legal processes, the security, the universal good manners. The location of the county courthouse is at an intersection known as The 4 Corners of Law: God's Law (the beautiful St Michael's Episcopal church where I've attended a couple of performances, The Messiah one Christmastime and a Spoleto Festival event), Federal Law (courthouse and post office), County Law (county courthouse, where I was), and City Law (city hall).
Everyone in the large jury pool had to announce their name, age, occupation and spouse's occupation. I was surprised how few were unemployed--something like 3 and 3 spouses out of several hundred. I believe the jury pool is chosen from voter rolls--perhaps those who register to vote are more likely to be employed? One guy I talked to opined that the recession is long over in Charleston and expects we'll resume normal economic activity within a year or two.
I noticed that white people were more likely to be single than black people, but equally likely to be divorced or separated. The range of ages & occupations seemed realistically representative. Given this is Charleston, a lot of folks worked in health care at MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina), the VA hospital and other hospitals and small businesses providing medical services. A lot of administrative assistants, including men. A lot of entrepreneurs running a wide range of service businesses. I was honored to be among such fine Americans! I was seated next to a 20-year-old black man with impeccable manners (yes, ma'am), a job, and part-time student. Several people were caregivers for family members--and just as likely men as women.
There was a criminal trial and 2 civil trials yesterday, and I was put in the civil pool. WE were all asked about court experiences, chirpractic experiences, and car accident experiences. Al most everyone had been in at least one car accident! About half the pool had received chirpractic services, including about 1/4 of the pool receiving regular chiropractic maintenance. I ended up being the first juror selected. It was soooo boring to go over the plaintiff's testimony first with her own lawyer and then in cross-examination by the defendent's lawyer. A number of "I object's" with reasons and quick decisions by the judge (a woman in her late 40s I estimate). Both of the lawyers were beautiful, articulate young women who could give professional actresses playing lawyers on TV a run for their money...lovely, poised, on top of their game. One had a boss supervising, but neither needed help. Both worked for law firms, no public defender.
I went to lunch at a nearby restaurant I haven't been to in a long time, but like taking visitors as it's unique in my experience. A cross between a French bistro and a 70s-era whole foods restaurant from hippiedom. Inexpensive, filling, tasty food. My lunch at Fast & French (real name is something like Gaulart & Maliclet, but everyone knows it as Nancy-) was one of the soups of the day, navy bean along with whole-grain rye toast w/veggie spread and raw shredded veggies. And two cups of strong Fench roast coffee to overcome my sleepiness. But the best part was my fellow patrons at the u-shaped counter. The 40something couple who live in the next county and came down to sight-see for the day. The couple about my age from Edisto, one of the sea islands, the guy runs a tugboat & barge business out of neighboring Yong's Island and his wife, a retired social worker, in town to celebrate their 33rd anniversary. I wish I hadn't been too shy to offer or ask for contact information. The final couple, a little older than me, lived here when husband served as a young dentist at the Navy yard (now closed). They live in North Carolina, but visit Charleston often.
During our afternoon coffee break, the parties at trial settled. YAY! I get partial credit…I was getting so dozy despite the chill in the Courtroom and 2 coffees at lunch, so I asked for coffee during the afternoon break (I figured it must be available as there was coffeemate and packets of sweetener in a basket on the table in the jury room). They judge told the lawyers that the jury asking for coffee is a bad sign and she asked if the'd settle. And they did. The case was about a car accident that left the plaintiff, a professor at one fo the historically black state colleges in SC, with $7600 in uncovered medical bills. The defendant, driver of a cadillac de ville en route to a charity event at the time, was also sympathetic. I was glad they settled for the cost of the medical bills, which is the outcome I would've imposed had it been entirely up to me to decide the outcome.
The selected jury was interesting…5 (and several devastatingly handsome-) black men, 5 white ladies, and 2 white men. None of the black women in the jury pool were selected. I presume the defendent's attorney struck them (each side got to strike 4 potential jurors).
In Charleston County, you serve on the jury pool all week, so it's back in the pool for me today!
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