"Some folks would rather eat ca-ca than serve on a jury. No accounting for taste, eh?" --Katie Merrill (whom I met on jury duty in March of '86)

Starting 2-May-10, I am on-call for Uncle Sam. No, I'm not headed of to the war zones of Afghanistan or Iraq, but the battle zone called The Federal Courthouse in Downtown San Diego.

If I am called up, I have the privilege of hauling my carcass to the bus stop at 04:30, then riding the bus to the Vista Tansit Center, where I catch the Sprinter to Oceanside Transit Center and The Coaster. I then ride the Coaster to Santa Fe Station, catch the trolley, and get off near the Federal Courthouse. Then I report to the jury lounge until I am called for voir dere and possible empanelment to hear-and-decide a Federal Criminal or Civil Case. After that--schlep my butt back to Santa Fe Station for the trip home.

For all of this, I get $40/day jury pay, plus mileage (even though I use public transport)--the check for the total amount mailed three weeks after my time in the barrel ends. However, unlike serving in County/Superior Court, I can be called for duty on my last day eligible. More money--but more headaches!

Also, unlike the "one day/one trial" system the state uses, the Feds require I keep my calender clear for the whole thirty days. I can be called on any day, voir dere'ed and empaneled at any time, and said case might run a long time (over two weeks). I hope that I can stand the stress...as if I need more piled onto my plate right now.

But, there are some advantages to jury service. Beside the monetary perks (better than the $15/day chicken scratch the county pays it's jury members), I can get out of the house, meet new people, and see justice in action. The fact that what ofien goes on is more akin to what a bull does to a heifer to produce veal chop candidates than to what justice is truly about just makes things such as jury nullification a viable option.

I even met a ladylove while on my first jury duty session (March 1986). Her name was Katie Merrill, and we met in the Court Restaurant during our lunch break. We started dating that evening (Mario's Grecian Gardens (now out-of-business) at San Marcos Restaurant Row), and had ourselves a grand old time until July 1986, when she moved with her folks back to Detroit. Her father had gotten promoted to Vice President of Burroghs Computers, and had decreed the whole family was to go with him.

I cried for three days, and that scar will never go away. We probably would have wed...but somebody up there has a way sick sense of humor. So, au revior, mon cheri amor.

Still and all, I am looking forward to my first Federal service. I must remember to pack plenty of vittles for the trip, plus a few liters of chilled tea, extra money, plenty of reading material, extra medications, and my NCTD/MTS Compass Card to pay for my trip (plus my Medicare Card to prove i am disabled--yes, I have one of those, since I recieve Social Security Disability bennies).

Wish me luck! --LPR


CuddleFish April 19, 2010 @ 8:18 p.m.

Hey, Robbie, good luck and have fun on your journey!

And I have to say you are lucky to get the Fed duty, I am being called next week down to the County courthouse and it is measly pickins. But hey, been doing it for years ...


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