In which I can’t win

I was not picked for jury duty, and my number in the pool was high enough that I’m not sure whether I was actually eliminated or just that they got the required number of jurors they needed before they got to me. The process itself was … fine, I suppose? It would have been significantly more fine had the St. Joseph County courthouse #3 at any point investigated the concept of moving air, or a similarly comfort-related concept called don’t cram sixty fucking people into tiny rooms during a pandemic. Unfortunately, neither of those rules were followed and I suspect that, despite being one of three (3) people who remained masked for the entire process, I have contracted Covid, Anthrax, monkeypox and probably rabies and fucking wandering womb syndrome as well.

Honestly, the most entertaining (or at least worth talking about) parts of the whole process were that 1) when the judge is conferring with attorneys they actually play static over the intercom to make it more difficult to pick up what they’re saying, and 2) the absolutely outstanding level of rudeness of the cop manning the metal detector on the way into the courthouse. Actually, a few things about that:

  1. I walked in behind a handful of people on the way into the courthouse. All of them put masks on as we were entering the courthouse; I assumed that they were mandatory. The moment everyone but me got through the metal detectors, they all took their masks right back off again. The hell?
  2. The cop was barking “Do you have a cell phone?” at everyone who came in. The gentleman in front of me answered in the affirmative. The cop actually picked up a copy of the summons we were sent and yelled at him about whether he’d read the “big box at the bottom,” and made him read out loud the part where it said to not bring cell phones into the courtroom.
  3. Three of us, including me, set off the metal detectors and were waved in without further investigation, so apparently the pistol I had taped to the small of my back was fine. I said I didn’t have a cell phone, though, so all good.
  4. I happened to be sitting where I could hear people coming in while we were waiting for everything to start, so I got to witness it when the same poor bastard who had gotten chewed out about having a cell phone realized that the room he had on his summons was different from everyone else’s. He made the mistake of asking the cop about it, and the guy yelled at him again, because you’re supposed to call a number the night before you have jury duty to make sure your trial is still happening, and this guy hadn’t done that. “You did not do what you were supposed to do!” the cop yelled. “Why would that be? Do you not know how to read instructions? I’m surprised you found the courthouse at all!”
  5. Dick.

The other big realization of the day is that people get too tied up in hypotheticals and don’t think shit through very clearly, but that shouldn’t be surprising because I teach and so I should know how fucking dumb most people are. It was still weird– and, frankly, it clearly had one of the attorneys confused– to see how many people indicated that they would not be able to render an impartial verdict were the defendant to choose not to testify. Several different people expressed variations on “I wouldn’t be able to make a fair decision if I didn’t hear both sides of the story,” which sounds reasonable and good so long as you don’t think about it at all. Like, y’all, we just had “beyond a reasonable doubt” explained to us a couple times. It’s not all that complicated a concept. The defendant does not have to testify. Period.


  1. This was an armed robbery case. The defendant was caught on video robbing the store, clearly showing his face. There were several eyewitnesses to the crime, including the arresting officer and the store owner who was robbed. The robber dropped the gun while fleeing the store afterward, which had his fingerprints on it and was registered in his name. Before committing the crime, the thief posted a selfie on Twitter and Facebook of him outside the store and holding the gun, with the caption “Bout ta rob these motherfuckers.” In this case, I really don’t need the defendant’s version of the story. Guilty, thanks.
  2. Keeping with the metaphor of armed robbery. There were no witnesses other than the shop owner, who picked someone else out of a lineup and furthermore described a thief of a different race and gender than the person who was eventually arrested. The defendant has a solid alibi documented on social media for the time the crime was committed. There is video of the crime and the thief is clearly not the person on trial. In this case, again, I don’t need to hear from the defendant to decide to exonerate them.

These are both exaggerated, but it was really weird to hear so many people claim that they could not and would not be able to come to a conclusion without hearing from “both sides.” And again, the defense attorney was visibly surprised. The prosecutor had a similar situation in trying to ascertain if everyone understood the concept of “accessory to” being the same as having committed a crime; ie, you drive somebody to rob a bank and act as the getaway driver as well, but you weren’t the person who went in and robbed the bank. You’re still getting sentenced for bank robbery. Now, you could argue about whether this was fair, but the number of people who wanted to “what-if” this relatively simple hypothetical was still kind of alarming. No, the person wasn’t carjacked. Yes, they knew the robbery was happening. No, we’re not going to posit that someone was killed and the robber had promised not to kill anyone. Please stick to the current hypothetical, Juror 42. You know what, never mind, I’m rejecting all of you. Go home.

One way or another, I’m free for two years. Still haven’t made it to a trial. Hopefully next time it’ll be on a cooler day, but … yeah.

This again

Jury duty tomorrow, and I think that this time I might actually make it into the courtroom. I’ve been called … seven times? Eight? Twelveteen? times since I moved back to Indiana, and never-not-once have I even made it as far as jury selection. I’ve had one cancelled as I was getting in the car to leave and another where they reached a deal right before jury selection was supposed to start, but I’ve never made it any further. Summertime is basically as good of a time as it’s going to get for me to be on a jury, and I don’t mind the idea in theory, so we’ll see how this goes. So long as they don’t ask me my opinions on anything I might even make it through voir dire! We’ll see.

In the meantime, there are robots out there who need to be shot with arrows, so that’s the rest of my night sorted.

Free day off!

I was supposed to have jury duty today, and as of last night it hadn’t cancelled, so I was hoping that this would actually be the time that I get to serve on a jury– and yes, I mean get to, because I’ve never done it before and I wouldn’t mind the experience. I got the notification that my service was cancelled as I was getting into the car to head to the courtroom– which, on one hand, yay, because I’d already gotten the day off and it wasn’t like I was going back in, and on the other hand boo, because I’d gotten the day off so I could go do my Civic Duty as an American and that clearly wasn’t happening.

It’s not like there’s any chance I’m ever going to be allowed on a jury in the first place, unless the prosecutor isn’t paying attention and just assumes that since I’m a fat bald white guy with a beard I’m going to assume that whoever they put in front of me is guilty. I was kinda looking forward to declaring that all cops were bastards in my jury questionnaire. Alas, ’tis not to be, at least not this time.

So I came back inside and started job-hunting. Someone asked yesterday what sorts of jobs I was looking for. There’s a spreadsheet, because of course there is:

The blacked-out one is my kid’s school; they don’t actually have any openings right now but I sent in an application anyway just in case somebody resigns anytime soon. I’m not holding my breath over that one, but it’s pretty much the only way I’m in a classroom next year, since it’s a private school, which I’m pretty sure means that HB 1134 can’t touch it. If I find out otherwise I will probably mark them off the list. Nearly all of the rest of them are remote.

The interesting thing: I’ve been complaining about the quality of the jobs that the various search sites have been returning, but it turns out that once you start telling them what you’re applying for they start figuring out how to dial you in. I’m still getting the occasional blip where I search for education-related jobs in my area that pay $65K or more and get something in Fiji that pays $2 an hour to masturbate musk oxen, but … well, it’s getting better.

Anybody have any contacts at Edmentum, by any chance?

Well that wasn’t so hard

hqdefault.jpgSat in a hot, stuffy, way-too-small room within punching distance of a guy with white power tattoos for an hour and fifteen minutes only to be ushered into the courtroom and told that the defendant in the case we were there for, a “high-level felony” that would likely have required a fairly lengthy trial, had just accepted a plea bargain.  Thanks for your service!  No more jury duty for two years!  Go home!

I’ll admit– with my wife out of town, this was literally-no-exaggeration the worst week of the year for me to get called for jury duty, and navigating getting the boy to and from school and getting her picked up (not to mention a prescheduled major appliance delivery tomorrow) and a few other things was a huge pain in the ass that inconvenienced my parents as well as me, but I’m still a bit disappointed.  Even with all that going on, though, at least the trial would probably have been interesting.  That said, I got out of it the best way possible, without having to stage a rant about the unjust criminal justice system or begging that I just don’t have time to be an American this week or anything like that.  So I’ll call it a dodged bullet for the moment, and maybe if I do get called again in the next two years I won’t actually use my get-out-of-jury-duty-free pass.  We’ll see.

So.  What shall I do with my suddenly free day?  Ah, there you are, Dark Souls III, I’ve been looking for you.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: travel mug edition


If we were having coffee, I’d… yeah.  Coffee would probably be good, 1:30 in the afternoon be damned.  I’ve kinda got a headache.  Caffeine may well be helpful.

I slept in an empty house last night for the first time in over four and a half years; since the night after the boy was born, I think.  My wife is in Boston on bidness, and because she left so late last night the boy spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  So once I got home after dropping her off, I was alone in the house.  She’ll be back on Wednesday; this will be the first time I’ve been a single parent for more than a few hours at a time since the boy was born.  I’ve left home a bunch of times, but she doesn’t travel often.  I’m not griping– I’m a grown-ass man and I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my son for three whole days while my wife is gone– but it was still weird to be alone in the house last night.  I’ve officially survived the boy’s Spring Break, and have to manage to get him up and off to school on time tomorrow.  Now, that’s usually my job, so it’s not like it’s a new thing, but it’ll be interesting to see how much of a coma he’ll be in when I get him up at “go to school” time and not “Spring Break” time.

I might ask you if you’ve ever had jury duty before.  That’s on the agenda for Tuesday, and who knows how many days after that depending on when the trial is, whether I’m selected, and how long it goes.  I’ve gotten the letter before but I’ve never actually made it into the courtroom.  I’m actually looking forward to the opportunity since I’ve never done it before, but it could have had slightly better timing– in addition to my wife needing to be picked up on Wednesday, we’re having a new washer and dryer delivered, so I’m going to have to do some fancy footwork to schedule everything if I’m going to be in court all day without access to my phone.

Hoping to have some good news on the job front this week too.  I’ve applied for several positions in the last several days that are in the “You have no reason not to call me about this” category, so hopefully at least one or two of them will actually come through.  And that’s not counting the “work for the devil” job that I mentioned earlier this week, which I think I’m going to have to decline for a variety of reasons, some of which are better than others.  Hopefully it won’t turn out to be a mistake.  I’m tired of saying no to jobs; I know I’m not actually being a prima donna about what I do next but I’m starting to feel like one anyway.

But yeah.  More coffee; let’s make this headache go away.  How’re you?