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In all of my 24 years on this planet, I thought Jury Duty was a myth. “It could never happen to me,” I always thought to myself. I had never known anybody to serve on a jury. Sure, my dad told me some horror stories about when he served on it back in the 90s, and my brother was somehow able to dodge it twice, but as far as I knew, it was just some mythical, arduous task that everyone put off for later until it went away. Like cleaning the bathroom or reading Terms and Conditions.
And then, it happened. Upon my return from Denver, I was greeted with a letter from the Cook County Jury Administration. I figured it would be one of two things: either I was being summoned to appear in front of court for a totally nonviolent crime that I can definitely explain, or I was being called up to the big leagues.
It was the big leagues. That was the day I finally got my card pulled. My flower blossomed. My probe landed on Venus. The day I took of the training wheels and rode into town. They took my key and put it in the ignition. They offered the honor, and I am going to honor the offer.
Is that too sexual for Jury Duty? Honestly, I don’t think it’s sexual enough. Y’all, ya boy is getting his first shot to dish out some of that sweet, sweet justice onto the evil doers of a neighborhood on the outskirts of Chicago that I honestly forgot the name of. I know what you’re probably thinking. “Charlie, how much experience do you have with the law that would make you such a good juror?” My answer? Little to none. You could tell me that it’s legal to murder someone in the state of Montana as long as they’ve intruded on your property no less than 3 times.
But that’s what would make me the best juror. I’m not going to rely on my legal knowledge—or lack thereof—to help decide whether or not the defendant (that’s the person on trial, right?) is guilty. I’ll be using my moral compass and objective reasoning to make my decision.
“Yeah, whatever Charlie. That’s what everyone says.”
Maybe. However, in my case, I’ve been doing research. I’ve watched countless true crime docu-series that have helped me identify areas where most jurors fail. I’m talking The Confession Tapes. I’m talking Making A Murderer. I’m even talking that weird ass HBO Slenderman documentary and some of that Laci Peterson series that A&E had on for a while. And baby, I’m just getting started.
So far, I’ve learned that one of the key components of being a great juror is to stay away from any media about the case. This goes for before, during, and after the case. If you know too much about the case beforehand, you might not get put on the jury—and if you do get put on the jury, you could let the media’s framing of the case impact your decision. If you talk to the media during the case, that’s cause for dismissal. Ain’t about that shit.
But the key here is not to talk to the media afterward. This doubles for both news media and the documentary crew 10 years down the road trying to “find the truth.” Unless you are 100% objective (which is a really hard thing to be), there’s always going to be a chance that whatever you say about the case will be misinterpreted and you’ll look like an idiot.
Think I’m kidding? Go back and watch any interviews with the jurors for any of the cases I listed off. The only ones that don’t sound like complete fucking morons are the ones that help prove the documentarian’s point. The absolute last thing that I want to happen is to be looked at like an idiot for appearing in a documentary and expressing my opinion on whether or not someone was guilty.
Sure, there are other reasons to be stoked about Jury Duty. I get the day off work and the court system told me to bring change for vending machines. That means I get a day off work eating junk food. Count. Me. In.
I think the over-arching theme here is that I just really hope I get a high profile case. Something controversial, that can go one way or another and it’s up to the jury to decide. Some people may shy away from those cases because they’re afraid they might get death threats. Not me. It’s my duty to jur the shit out of these motherfuckers, and I will not let justice down..
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