Friday, October 30, 2020

Who just won the jury duty lottery? THIS. GIRL.

So this drama has been going on for a few months.

In July I received a notice for jury duty in mid-August. I don't usually mind doing this, but I was assigned to a courthouse in downtown L.A. and this was after the rioting had started. I was seeing footage of things like The Grove being looted, streets and freeways being blocked, motorists being accosted and their vehicles being damaged, people being attacked on trains, and no one responding to the attacks. I wasn't about to drive into DTLA and didn't feel safe being on the Metro, especially since I couldn't carry my usual arsenal of pepper spray and a small but extremely sharp knife if I was going into a courthouse. 

So of course I got on social media and bitched about it, as we do in this day and age. And I was informed that I could request a change of venue. Again, I don't mind doing jury duty, but I do have an aversion to placing myself in a potentially dangerous situation and/or location, especially for the benefit of some law-breaking dirtbag. I lived in Hollywood for fifteen years with a minimum of issues, so I trust my gut on these things. And with all the crazyness going on, my gut told me to avoid downtown Los Angeles like the plague. 

It turned out that I could request a change of venue via the L.A. Courts online portal. So I did. I explained as tactfully as I could that I didn't mind doing it, but I didn't want to go downtown or on the Metro these days due to the "unrest" (I purposefully avoided calling them riots - which is exactly what they were - because, you know, Los Angeles and political correctness and all that bullshit). I asked that I be assigned to a court closer to home. I also figured that if the change was rejected, at least I'd be done with it all by the time my week in the middle of August was done.

I requested a change of venue. What I got was the same courthouse, but with my jury duty week changed to late October, in fact, the week right before the election. My tax dollars at work.

Which means that I could have been done with this crap a couple months ago. Instead I had to wait until the very end of October. And that week was this week. I braced myself for it.

The system has changed since I was last called for jury duty. In the past, you could call in starting at 4:45pm the day before to find out if you had to report. Now you have to wait until 7pm. You can also check in online. 

So this is what happened:

Saturday, I logged on to watch the orientation and it turned out they already had my Monday non-assignment. So I was off the hook for Monday.

For the rest of the week, each night I watched the clock inch toward 7pm. Tuesday: "You do not need to report." I emailed The Brother each day: "Three down, two to go." Wednesday night I learned I didn't need to report on Thursday, which was the good news. The bad news, I felt, was that if I was called in Friday, my jury duty might bleed into the following week and possibly longer if I was chosen to be on a jury, and for reasons that I think are sad but obvious, I didn't want to be anywhere near DTLA on or after election day.

So last night I watched the clock lurch slowly towards 7pm. I couldn't believe I would get lucky enough to get through the whole week without being summoned. It has actually happened once before, years ago, when I worked for a post-production house and got called for jury duty during pilot season. I didn't know at the time I could request a delay, so every day at quarter to five I called in to see if I was going to be at work or at court the next day and surprisingly made it through the whole week without being called in, much to the relief of my boss. 

And lo and behold, last night I log on to the L.A. Courts portal and find a message that I have completed my jury duty service, and thank you very much.

I called The Brother and told him I just won the jury duty lottery. I think a lot of it has to do with the COVID-19 crap; they can't call several hundred people in to sit in a room all day waiting to see if their services will be needed. But whatever. 

This kind of made up for them not moving me to a closer courthouse. By the way, the reason given for not moving me was that the courthouses are supposed to be assigned at random. Yeah, right. This is the first time I was assigned to this particular courthouse, one other time I was sent to San Fernando, other than that I had done multiple jury duty services at the same exact courthouse every time. Not terribly random. And it also didn't explain why they changed my dates, which I didn't request. But whatever. I've done my civic duty and I'm done with it.

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