It’s amazing how such a rag tag group of individuals can be roped together in a setting like jury selection. Aside from me, a libertarian/anarchist radio employee and former US Congressional candidate turned podcaster (all of which were things I thought I would be disqualified for), the following cast of characters would also appear:
- Indiana Stalin: A retired professor of archaeology who now lives in Mexico where he is helping the government to excavate artifacts from beneath their highways. Thus far in his effort he has unearthed items ranging from 500 B.C. to 1500 A.D. I call him Indiana Stalin because:
- When I met him he was seated quietly reading a book that I thought was in Russian. It was actually in German. I asked if he was fluent and he explained that his archeological profession has required him to be fluent in German, French, and Spanish.
- When one of the attorneys asked him, “Sir, do you think you will be able to collaborate with your peers and work together to come to a unanimous decision?” He volunteered his political beliefs stating, “As a socialist, I look forward to it.” I sat in the corner at this time thinking, “Socialist? Nobody asked you.”
- Grey’s Anatomy 2.0: A 23 year old ER worker and former equestrian who was finishing up her final year of studies. She lived only with her dog and a somewhat disgruntled disposition. She mumbled judgmental comments about our peers under her breath several times, always finishing her sentences with “I guess I just hold people to a higher standard.” “Ironic,” I thought.
- Cop Killa’ Construction Worker: This guy had NO interest in participating from the get go. Not only did he show up for selection in the kind of tight, grease-stained, denim pants meant to exaggerate the outline of his penis while simultaneously making the statement that he was a hard worker (no pun intended), but he then went out of his way during questioning to paint his self as a liability to the process. At one point he told the attorneys, “I’ve had a few run-ins with local police and I think they’re full of shit. I mean, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be fair during the trial but if it involves a cop I’m likely going to put my vote on the opposite side. I pretty much just think cops should die.” Note: This is not an exaggeration.
- PTSD Mom: From the moment she entered the courtroom she began to cry. This woman, a very large woman, fully equipped with enlarged bi-focal lenses, a time traveling perm from the 1980’s and an oversized North Carolina Tar Heels t-shirt, shook nervously in the juror’s box. When confronted by one of the attorneys her words could barely break through her sobs. She then went on to explain how a relative of hers had been on trial and sentenced to prison in that very room. Being there again she was overwhelmed with all of the emotions of that trial. The attorneys questioned her objectivity immediately.
- Forearm Belly Dancer: He was a young auto mechanic from Elkhart County and the only smoker in the group. This gruff red head had a unique tattoo of a Japanese belly dancer positioned across his right forearm. It must have served him as a coping skill because at several points when the questioning had gone on too long I could see him staring at it, flexing his forearm muscle, and watching her hips sway.
- Truck Driver: Every group has a comedian and the kind of person who people seem to gravitate towards. That was this guy. As a semi driver he was supposed to be on his way down to Tennessee to deliver a shipment for his company, but jury selection had held him back in the Hoosier State. He hoped to be dismissed before the trial so he could make his next run to South Carolina. I suspect that, like many of us, he just wanted to get away from the cold. While we were waiting to be let into the courtroom he told us that he hated making runs to New Jersey and New York because one time, as he was turning a corner to drop off a shipment in New Jersey, a small Fiat was illegally parked and was blocking his progression. A nearby police officer saw what was happening and stopped by to give him further instruction. “Well, you can either back up and miss your drop off, or you can push through him. It’d be his fault for parking like an idiot.” The cop said. Unwilling to miss his drop off he kept driving. As his trailer turned the corner he could hear it shredding the side of the car, and in his mirrors he could see a frantic man screaming at him as he ran out to his car. “Having to damage a nice little car like that made me hate working in that area.” The truck driver said.
- Ethan Hawke Doppelganger: If you were take Ethan Hawke in Boyhood and refuse to give him any lines you’d have juror number seven. He was almost identical to the actor in his physical appearance, but was almost completely silent up until deliberation.
- Real Housewife of South Bend: You’ve heard the term trophy wife. Well, she wasn’t one. But she tried. This blond, 40 year old Mrs. Robinson entered the juror’s room dressed in all Coach everything. Her apricot cardigan just subtly off set the tone of her fake spray tan. 20 minutes after she’d described her husband in great detail we were let into the courtroom where we discovered that the case included a local police officer. She was quick to point out her bias as several of the men in her family had been uniformed officers. After verbally sparring with Cop Killa’ Construction Worker over his comments for several minutes the judge and both attorneys exchanged whispers and decided to dismiss them both.
- Sleepless in St. Joseph: Every dwarf tribe has its Sleepy. This woman definitely fit the bill. When I met her she was swigging coffee, complaining after each sip that she hadn’t added enough creamer. But the caffeine wasn’t enough. Throughout the selection process she warmed herself with her arms tucked inside of her hoodie and dozed off as though she hadn’t slept in days.
- Maintenance Emergency Man: Irritated and not excited about his required court appearance this gentleman explained to the court that he was the maintenance director at a senior living facility. The state was expected in the next couple of days for an audit and he was in the process of making sure everything was ship shape for inspection. Being on a jury would prevent him from doing his job and he wasn’t happy about it. After airing his grievances to the attorneys he was promptly dismissed.
- Disabled Veteran Guy: He rode into the juror’s room on an electric wheelchair. He sat in it a majority of the time but used a cane when needed to get around otherwise. Originally from Minnesota, this once military police officer was barely mobile and extremely overweight. He was friendly though. He claimed to be a Democrat but rattled on and on about jury nullification in the event that the law was deemed unfair by the jury. I was familiar with the concept and was happy that I didn’t have to be the one to bring it up.
- Conspiracy Theory Grandma: Imagine an elderly lady wearing a now vintage pair of JNCO jeans and rambling on about conspiracy theories. If you were the defendant in a criminal court case would you want her determining your fate? Me neither. Yet, she was one of the chosen. Before selection I heard her discuss everything from crop circles near Stonehenge to a real life Stargate portal (yes, like the film franchise). It apparently exists in or near Iran. According to Conspiracy Theory Grandma, this is why the U.S. has so many conflicts in that region. We all want control of the portal and access to the other dimensions that it allows us to teleport to. For a time she ranted about stockpiled jet fuel beneath the Denver International Airport and also told us a story about how she spent the night in Roswell, New Mexico when she was 19. Use your imagination. And then she saw my Freemason ring. To clarify she asked me, “Is that a Mason ring?” “Yes it is.” I replied. After that she became very quiet. For a majority of the hearing thereafter she stayed tightlipped, rocking back and forth in her chair during deliberation, and rubbing a blue handkerchief across her forehead whenever someone addressed her as though being vocal was suddenly hard work. I felt bad for her. Apparently the Freemason conspiracies had gone to her head and I don’t like to perpetuate those kinds of things. But I don’t think anything I could have said would have changed her mind since she seemed so invested in those kinds of things.
- Indifferent Annie: I call her this because it’s fitting. Her name was Annie, but that’s all we learned about her. She didn’t speak. She didn’t care. She didn’t have an opinion. She was absolutely indifferent to everything.
Juror’s 14 through 16 were fairly normal and there isn’t much to note about them. So naturally they were dismissed and didn’t have to serve. The final jurors selected for the trial were myself, Grey’s Anatomy 2.0, Forearm Belly Dancer, the Ethan Hawke Doppelganger, Disabled Veteran Guy, Conspiracy Theory Grandma, and Indifferent Annie.
To Be Continued…