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Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter #2, and Jury Duty day 1

Image source: openclipart.org
So I missed blogging about Winter #1, when it hit −1°F for the first time since the 1980s. The outdoor dogs got through it just fine; we put hay in and around their houses and they had no problems. In fact, Mongo (Buster T. Butthead’s progeny) never bothered going inside his house. I checked on him several times in the early hours of the night, when it was already in single digits, and he was just curled up happily in the hay. The other two dogs had enough sense to use their doghouses, and they were plenty warm. In the morning, Mongo was basking in the cold sun… no problems.

For you metric-inclined folks,
that’s 2°F. About −17°C.
Winter #2 settled in late last week, bringing another round of frigid temperatures, entire days below freezing, and so forth. Sunday poked itself up to around 50°, and it’s almost as nice today, but the next blast is coming in tonight. Snowpocalypse again! My fighting off a bad cold is not helping matters any.

As if Planet Georgia having its first real winter in three years wasn’t enough, I got a jury summons right around Christmas time. That, of course, brought to mind the Jim Carrey version of the Grinch, when he was playing in the post office: “Jury duty! Jury duty! Pink slip! Blackmail! Eviction notice!” My mother in law was also summoned, but she died in May so they weren’t going to get her in there. The wife had the “privilege” of calling the clerk to tell them about it; she held up pretty well.

This is nowhere near the first time I’ve been on jury duty, but it’s the first time in a long time. But getting back to Winter #2, there was ice on the roads going into town. Which didn’t make sense at all, given that the low at FAR Manor was 37° last night, but this is Planet Georgia. The local police were stopping cars on a side road, warning them about the roads; the tow trucks parked along the side of the road suggested someone had already slid off into the woods.

I didn’t lose traction anywhere, but did keep the speed down. I dropped Mason off at his preK, grabbed some breakfast, then went back to the courthouse.

Image source: WPclipart.com
The fun began when the judge started asking the general questions that everyone has to answer. When he got to “any felony convictions?” he lost more of the pool than all the previous questions combined.

Then, I was in on a selection for a DUI case. If you’ve never been lucky enough to get called to jury duty, they go through a process called voir dire (which is not French for “do you really belong here,” but that’s the upshot). That’s where the fun really began.

I do believe that the increasing Criminalization of Everything is starting to catch up to the “justice” system. About ⅓ of the potential jurors were getting struck (or “reserved”) for various reasons—one was going through his own DUI arrest, another had been stopped once on suspicion of DUI, others had different brushes with the law. Before we got halfway through the process, the judge sent those of us who had already been questioned downstairs. I’ve been on several trips through the jury mill, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Last time I was there, the lawyers would ask their questions, then the DA would strike or pass, and the defense attorney would do the same, until they had their jury.

While I’d raised my hand and answered several of the lawyers’ questions, I felt sure that I was going to get selected for that case… but it didn’t turn out that way. I continued to read +Brooke Johnson’s The Clockwork Giant on my Kindle, and waited for lunch. And waited… and waited… Finally, at 1p.m., I asked the clerk if we were going to get a lunch break. “The judge decides,” he said. Sure, judges are like minor deities in their courtrooms, but I’ve never had to wait until 2:15 for lunch during jury duty before. Finally, we got sent home for the day, with instructions to call in this evening to see if we have to come in tomorrow.

I hope not… Winter #2 is still in effect, and it’s supposed to sleet and/or snow in the morning, then snow all afternoon, and never get above freezing.

Stay tuned for more misadventures in jury duty! I’m live-tweeting stuff that doesn’t name any names on my Twitter account through the day. Look for the #juryduty hashtag. And if we get a real Snowpocalypse, I’ll be blogging that (if the power holds up).


  1. I am SO jealous! No, not of the snow – I'm used to that shite – but JURY DUTY! I've always wanted to be called and never have been. So have fun for me, OK?

    And if you see Julianna Margulies behind the bench, say hi! :)

  2. Here up North, it's always fun to watch the Southern states go nuts when there's some snow or cold. I will admit, if I was down there, I would not leave the house. Mostly because I wouldn't trust the natives on the roads. LOL

  3. Cathy, if you weren't one of those furrin folks, I'd be glad to let you take over for me! The judges we got are both men, unfortunately.

    Patricia, I got a front row on the nuthouse! :-) I don't thin we'll lose power; with the high winds we've had this winter, a little snow isn't going to knock anything over. We didn't rush out to buy bread and milk, but I *do* have some bread in the oven…


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