Now that we aren’t students anymore, we actually have to kind of contribute to the society we’ve all taken such heinous and deplorable advantage of for the last 22 to 27 years. Among these contributions is each American’s highest mandatory civic duty–ensuring that the Sixth Amendment is alive and well. Yep, jury duty. It sucks and everyone hates it, but America.
Once a person gets selected for jury duty when that bastard summons arrives in the mail, his or her first and only instinct is to try and lie, cheat, or weasel a way out of it. No judgment, I tried, too. Unfortunately, if you’re not a full-time student, then you’ll have to take a day off and venture down to the local courthouse (read: cesspool of society’s miscreants and repeat offenders). At the very least, you will have to eventually show up, because they don’t forget about deferments. Ever. If you’re one those dildos who says, “Oh, I just won’t show up,” then I hope the next stop sign you run is worth it. They issue a warrant for your delinquent ass, so the next time you get a speeding ticket, it will actually be jail time and a hefty fine. Way to think it through.
The fact that you’re missing a full day of work to make six dollars (minus the parking fee) makes you realize you need to figure out how to get the fuck out of here. You can’t lie about being a felon or a child murderer, because they can easily follow up on that. You might waste a whole day, but your sole mission in life is to not get selected and waste a whole week. Unless you’re unemployed, then you might as well make some easy money. The following is a guide to minimizing your time contributing to some asshole’s constitutionally guaranteed form of due process. You don’t have to play both sides, but you do have to make damn sure one side hates your guts by the end of their respective spiels. Get on board with one of these, and you might even swing a half day.
1. Whatever the defendant is, you are “him”-ist.
If he’s a man, you’re a reverse sexist; if she’s a woman, you’re a cavemen misogynist who’s just waiting for a sandwich. The defendant is a little old man on a pension accused of some wildly improbable crime of defrauding the state? You think he’s a lazy, freeloading bastard who retired far too early at 78. So what if he stormed Normandy? No free lunches, bitch. The defendant is accused of prostitution and it really looks like police entrapment? Whatever, she has a neck tattoo–she was probably slingin’ HJs for quarters. Your prejudices run so deep they basically possess you like a demon, and you better convey that very clearly to the overweight, overworked, and underpaid public defender, who is one more massive heart attack away from death.
2. “The defendant is the real victim here.”
No matter how condemning the evidence looks in this awful crime the defendant allegedly committed, he or she is the real victim here. A victim of a prejudiced police department, a victim of a rough upbringing, whatever–you find an excuse to find him or her innocent simply because he or she was accused. Basically, you must take on the persona of anyone at Coachella, Bonnaroo, or Starbucks on any given day. This shouldn’t be a problem given who you’re acting like, but you must also be overly smug about your minimal knowledge of anything. The DA’s success is based almost solely off his conviction rate, and he sees your sandal-wearing ass shitting all over that when the judge declares an eventual 11-1 mistrial because of the one douchebag who wouldn’t listen to reason. No thanks. Boom, excused.
3. Speak up during the selection process.
During the state and defense’s spiels, they will look for people to strike from their list of possible jurors. A popular misconception is that if you stay quiet, they will overlook you and not pick you. This could not be less true. Everyone’s name is on a seating chart, and the ones spouting off bigoted and ridiculous bullshit (see 1 and 2) will have strikes through their names if they’re doing it right, or if they actually are just dicks. Meanwhile, you’re quiet and no one strikes you. It’s not a selection process, it’s an elimination process. If you don’t say anything, especially anything shitty, both sides will assume you’re actually impartial and thus the perfect juror. Way to go, dumbass. Don’t worry about sounding like an asshole to the other hundred something people in there. You’ll never see them again, and it’s not worth a week of your life to save face in front of a bunch of strangers.
4. Get the last word.
If you haven’t hit 1, 2, or 3 out of the park yet, there is still hope for your timid self before the allotted time runs out. I admit, I was guilty of this rookie move my first time. As the defense was wrapping up and time was almost out, I hadn’t said a damn word, but I knew it was time to make my move. As the judge called time, I nervously blurted out, in a Tourette’s-esque mouth fart, “I actually don’t think I can be impartial.” The whole phrase came out in about a third of a second. The room got silent and everyone looked at me and knew exactly what I was doing. Nevertheless, the public defender shook his 68-pound head and begrudgingly crossed me off his list. It wasn’t smooth nor was it according to plan, but it worked and I was excused. Mission accomplished.
There you have it: a somewhat foolproof blueprint of getting your degenerate ass out of your civic duty as a citizen of the best country in the world. Ideally, you’ll be out of the woods and onto a patio with a Bloody Mary by noon without having to pull the ripcord that is 4. You already made six bucks today, so just tell the office it ran late, black out by 4 in the afternoon, pass out by 8 in the evening, and make a day of it.