Friday, February 27, 2009


OK so here is the story:
So Husband comes home late one night (Oct 8th, if you must know)drunk off his ass. The door is double locked, so Wife had to get out of bed, hope the three kids don't wake up, and open the door that Husband could not unlock. An argument ensued. Wife went back to bed. Husband dragged Wife out of bed by the legs. She hit the ground and maybe hit her head. At this point there was some punching and kicking on both parties parts. Then Husband shook Wife and then Wife said I'm calling the cops. She did. And hung up mid-call. Did she drop the phone or did husband rip it out of her hand and throw it back into the bedroom or at Wife? Only Zeus knows. The cops show up. Wife is crying, Husband is taken into custody. There are no injuries documented, and arresting officers took no pictures. The next day, Wife goes down to the police station and tearfully gives her statement which is basically the same as above.

Cut to: Feb 26 in court....
The only evidence we are given are the testimony of Wife and Detective, the one she spoke to the morning after the incident. The opening statements promised drama and suspense. Violence and roller-coaster emotions. What we got was a bunch of bullshit. Wife got on the stand and denied everything. According to her there was an argument about something she can't remember but otherwise absolutely nothing happened. She called the cops as a threat and then dropped the phone accidentally. Fantastic. Typical victim stuff, and for good reason. Protecting the guy who pays the bills and the father of her children makes sense. The Detective basically reported the statement that Wife made that morning. He handed it in, looking at the incident report, but not actually speaking to the arresting officers about the arrest. According to Detective, she was very upset and cried by the end of the story.


That's all we got. No other witnesses, not even the arresting officers. We were sent to deliberate with JUST THAT. Several jury members commented on the lack of awesome that was the prosecutor. I was elected foreman. Because I'm like that. When we all sat down at the table, there was one guilty, three undecided, and eight not guilty. The undecideds were the first to go down, me being one. Basically, there simply wasn't enough evidence to convict. And Wife obviously lied, whether it be to us or to the cops, so her testimony was useless. And if her testimony was useless, then even her statement to the Detective needed to be thrown out. Which left us with ZERO evidence of any kind. And you have to presume innocence, right?

So then there was just Maxine (aka Mrs. Sonnenbergersteinson, and the one I thought I would totally agree with.) When we realized she was the last one standing she and I started referring to her as Henry Fonda. Maxine. OOOOhhhh, Maxine. In her seventies and an attorney of intellectual property, she was not going to go down with out a fight. So suddenly it was my job to get her to go along with the rest of us. And her point was valid: we all could assume that Husband had some inappropriate contact with Wife and he should pay for it. And as the daughter of a DV advocate, put the perp AWAY is the rule. The best part was when I asked her, "Henry Fonda, what would you need to say 'not guilty'?" The ATTORNEY at the table, Miss Maxine, needed to be reminded about burden of proof. She gave in. She admitted there was not enough evidence. I wrote out the verdict.

I think we were all extremely disappointed. In that room, there were more than 5 people whose life had been touched by domestic violence. You find out way too much during jury selection. We had two victims of violence, and one of the guys wife had been in an abusive relationship for years, and one girl spoke about her father in a way that would make your blood run cold. This shit is an epidemic. Where are we leaving this family? Nowhere. We couldn't stand up for a wife who couldn't stand up for herself. And there was no one at that police station the morning after the incident who could talk about counseling or victim's rights or any number of other programs or city, hell, state and country offer to help women who are in just this pickle? Have we sent her back to a home filled with threats and violence, a place where it has now been proven that calling the cops is the WORST option? I hope not. The system failed here. The prosecutor needed to go back to law school and learn how to run this kind of case, because there are hundreds of these things. And law enforcement, I understand you are underpaid and overused, but isn't there a way to make sure that this sort of thing is dealt with in a way that promises a little bit more safety and security than just throwing Husband in the drunk tank for the night? And a better answer than an uncaring justice system that does nothing to care for the health and well-being of the entire household? I know this rant is idealistic and very possibly naive. I don't live in east LA, I am not Hispanic and I am not raising three children on my husbands meager wages. I am not callused to these kind of cases in the same way that the system I saw at work is, but I would bet there is a better way than what I was a part of today.


Anywho. I went to get a gin and tonic. I'm sure I'm leaving all the good stuff out, but I'm all out of writer-ness. I'll see if I can't leave more bonmots at a later time, but for now, it's timw for Formosa.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Another break. Is this thing going to get thrown out of court? Am I going to have to go back to work tomorrow? Why are all bailiffs bald? Why are all clerks fat black dudes?

now: 4:50pm at Delancey with chardonnay...
We were released to deliberate starting tomorrow at 1:30pm. With this group it could go either way. All I know is I'm going with Mrs Sonnenfeldenstienerson, she's a million and a lawyer so team her.

2:42 pm

I was chosen, but this case looks like it will be very fast. Hiker-lady was chosen as well, but I had to wish a sad goodbye to Kal Penn and my nasty stalker Riva. But in exchange, I'm working on a decent sized interest in the defense attorney and one of the translators, who is wearing an off purple suit. The defense attorney is super smug. He and Rachel Maddow could have a really intense Smug-off, where they throw superior one-liners at each other for hours. It would definitely be about stamina.

My legs are sore and I have a cough. Neither of those facts are related. And no, it's not because I suffered a compound fracture in Tunisia, or am wheelchair bound in the real world. The golden ball of light in my gut, as giving and magic as it is, has taken its price. Thanks CP.
Edit:OOH, not for the cough, CP, that is entirely my fault.

1:20 pm

I have arrived. I forgot to brush my teeth. Gross. But I thought I'd share a little tidbit the prosecution laid on us yesterday when he questioned the jury. His hypothetical: If a brother and sister got in a fight and the sister took a fork and stuck it in her brother's thigh and then he called the police, got his sister arrested, and then later dropped the charges, should she still be prosecuted for battery? This story was so whacked out the judge had to stop the prosecuter and rephrase for him. I guess what he was getting at is that it is within the law to prosecute even if there is no claimant. The correct answer is, if you want to stay on the panel "Whatever the law says, sir. I would consider all the evidence to the best of my ability and judge with a fair mind." But all of my fellow jurors started asking questions like "How deep did the fork go?" and "How did the brother get to the police station?" As usual, about 7 idiots rot the barrel.

We're going in momentarily. And the first thing they'll do? Send people home. All the way here just to turn around.

And I guess my co-worker has been calling out all week, during Beauty Week, so the evil is getting way too many sales for my taste. But I want to stay!!! I love jury duty!


The tension is palpable. What will happen when I return at 1:30pm?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

4:20 duuuuuude

So we have to come back tomorrow at 1:30. They haven't cut anyone, I'm still juror 7. Can't wait for more dramatic turns at the Hollywood Superior Court.

3:35 pm

So selection has begun. Of course, I was called in the first 12, seat 7 to be exact. After the break we will find out who is excused. It's a domestic violence case. Heavy sigh. Prostitution sounded like so much more fun.

1:20 pm

So we're back. I went home. I got fast food. I chillaxed. I drove my man to work. Now actor-turned-assitant-turned-VPofProductionorsomething is looking more and more like Kal Penn. More Racism. Hiker lady is back and replacing Persian/Russian/PossiblyLatino Lady is Madame Green Coat. She's a reader and a redhead. Two things I like in a person. She also has a nice LV bag. I'm super happy with my table, but I'm sure we'll have to get up and line up in a certain order and all my friends will be gone. Creepy dude was laying in wait in the parking lot, but I outsmarted him by checking my phone and waiting for him to get ahead of me. He almost took a chair at the table but I typed to my friend EM on gchat and he drifted away.

Big ups to BLin!! Thank you so much for sending me things in the mail!

Almost 11 am

There are rumors circulating that the judge is not ready for us and we might be released for lunch soon...and not have to return until 1:30. I have decided the Persian might be Russian. She keeps looking annoyed at the sound of my typing. Jury Clerk (Jeremy, btw) has just informed us we have to wait. Shocker.

This courthouse has only three courts and only one needs jurors today. There are about 45 of us. What are my odds? Let's see, like 1 in 4? Less really. Not to shabby. We will most likely be hearing a misdemeanor case....prostitution is what I'm hoping for.

No Longer Looking Over My Shoulder dude's name is Riva. Eww.

10:10 am

Well, now that orientation is complete I am pretty sure looking over my shoulder dude is going to turn up outside my apartment later this evening. I am pretty sure assistant guy will protect me from him for today but I really hope LOS dude finds another object for his affection when break is over at 10:30. I am also considering lunch. Should I go down to Tamarind Deli? That is my current thought, but I could just go home, it's 10 minutes, for crying out loud. If you can imagine, this is so way better than working. A testament to my sense of civic duty or a cry for help?

Oh! Actorman has turned into assistant guy. He pulled out his phone log, which I know from several drunk rants with Miss LW, is the assistant's most important tool. At least at Warner Brothers. So his earlier script reading was misinterpreted on my part. Actually, the jeans and navy blue jacket combo should have given him away. And the Versace reading glasses. God, what was I thinking? Was it because he was Indian (dot not feathers) that I assumed actor? Has Slumdog Millionaire seeped into my racist subconscious to that degree?

Oh great. Complainy Persian woman just took assistant guys seat. "It's so cold in here! This is so slow." And here comes Mr. looking Over My Shoulder. He's just standing/pacing near my table. Oddly, he too is wearing the navy jacket/jeans combo. But it's not cut e like my protector, assistant man. Who is back! And stole creepy weird LOS dude's seat. Now. To get rid of complainy persian.

9:10 AM

Looking over my shoulder guy just gave me the "Hey, what's up?" Ew. I adjusted my wedding rings. And typed this.

2/25 Jury Duty Edition 8:45 AM

What could be more boring than a blog about Jury Duty? Well, tuck in kiddies, because this is my plan for the day. So far, I have arrived, on time. My backpack has my laptop, my diet coke, and a book, The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher. Also my script for class, Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams. I also have assorted make-up. For any beauty emergency.

So I am assigned to the Hollywood Courts, a building on Hollywood Blvd at Bronson that I must have passed 234 times in the last 12 years and never once seen. Way to observe, right? The security area was a breeze and the jury room has a capacity of 55, with a little desk/table in the back just for me. And my three friends, actorman, hiker-lady, and looking over my shoulder dude. I am right next to the women's restroom for the aforementioned beauty emergencies and have discovered the free wi-fi. Hold on kids. This is just the beginning.