Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jury Duty

Today I drove downtown to answer my jury summons, which had been postponed from earlier when Laura was here last month. I was in the first panel, sent upstairs to the 6th floor of the George Allen court building. These are two photos I took from the 6th floor while waiting for the attorneys to get their acts together. (There was a list of forbidden items, but cameras were not on the list!)

If you know your Dallas history, you may recognize a bit of Dealey Plaza and the famous triple underpass on the far right of the photo. But it is mostly covered up with trees. The famous "grassy knoll" lies along Elm street and cannot be seen in this photo; the grassy knoll you see here is opposite that on the Commerce street side of the triple underpass.

Directly in line with our court holding tank was the Kennedy Memorial.

The 36 of us on the jury panel went through the voir dire process, and it seemed like it got a bit out of hand. It was a civil case involving a car accident and the woman pressing the law suit was represented by a personal injury lawyer who actually asked us, "Do you dislike me? Because if you do, I'll excuse you from serving and I won't hold it against you." I couldn't quite say I disliked him, but he did look a lot like Mr. Bean.

Mr. Bean got us all a bit on edge when he went into minute detail about that famous McDonald's hot coffee case from several years ago, like we were all supposed to know the specific details about that. Then a bunch of potential jurors asked to be excused when they learned that in a personal injury auto accident case it is against Texas law to say anything about car insurance. While I said I could try the case without regard to insurance, that rule seems a bit stupid. Because of course, whether a person is insured or not can be part of the reason a law suit is brought against them.

Anyway, as our stomachs were growling for lunch, we were sent out into the hall to wait some more. A few minutes later we were brought in and told the parties had settled. They weren't allowed to say who "won," but we could figure out a few things by the looks on the faces.

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