Thursday, May 7, 2009
Jury Duty - Texas Style!
I am not kidding - I registered to get my driver's license in the state of Texas on a Friday and by the next Thursday I had been summons to appear in Municipal Court in Gainesville, TX where I live, for jury duty.
Granted, when you're called to jury duty in Gainesville it's a lot like being called to the Principal's office to do a good deed for the school. I didn't feel put upon, I didn't feel that I was singled out or held responsible for anything. I wasn't being punished or blamed for anything - - jury duty is a civil duty, and it's something that can ONLY be done by free people in a free country. Having said that, I will be honest and add that I was glad it didn't start until 1:30 in the afternoon because I had a few things I had to take care of today. For starters it is my daughter's 20th birthday. I had to make a cake, and I was wanting to take her to lunch, but that was thwarted by a Brazilian TV station that decided to push my interview from Friday to Thursday and squeezing the producer into my schedule meant letting the kid wait - - I'll take her out tonight.
So, I went to court after the shoot for the TV show and as soon as I showed up I was the talk of the room. Gainesville is a small place, and word that my name was drawn made it through the ranks of women who know these things - - hell, the ladies at the driver's license office probably called their friends at the courthouse and made it happen! Anyway, I teased the judge before we came to order and told him I was being talked about unfairly by ladies on the "other" side of the room. They were 10 feet away laughing. He made them fess up to what they were discussing and of course it was my dog Faith. After answering a few questions for the court and the would be jurors we were given our instructions, sworn in, and then questioned by the prosecuting attorney for the purpose(s) of eliminating as many of us as possible. They had called 38 and only needed a maximum of 12 people to talk to. Six people (the first six not eliminated) would sit the jury, and I was number 36. I felt pretty confident that I would walk out in a few minutes time.
Questions were asked and we all tried our best to answer them honestly. This was a municipal court where Class-E misdemeanors with fine-only charges would be heard. The one I would have heard if I hadn't been eliminated - - oops, just spoiled it huh - - was a guy with a commercial driver's license ran a stop sign and was now facing a $200 fine, but of course he wanted evidence. He must have felt pretty good about his case, he didn't have an attorney present - - deciding to represent himself. (Doesn't he watch Court Tv?) LOL
Juror #36 was called, that's me, and questioned as to why I wasn't registered to vote in the state of Texas. I approached the bench as I'm suppose to, and I testified that I was from the (and I said it out loud) "GREAT State of Oklahoma", but that I was required by Texas law to have a driver's license in the state of Texas if I was living here for more than 30 days. I was asked how long I would be residing in Texas. I answered that I would be here long enough to do the movie about my dog, the editing, and possibly through the event of the premiere, and if that took place on time I would be in Gainesville until about June 2010. The judge, a very kind, (good looking man) around the age of 40 asked me another question. He leaned back in his wooden rocking chair - - did you read that - - his wooden rocking chair, and he asked "You don't hold any grudges against the state of Texas do you? Something that may have occurred say, last fall?" He was referring to the OU/TEXAS football game where Texas referees STOLE the game from us Sooners and gave a BUTT-Down to the Texans calling it a TOUCH DOWN. No hard feelings here right? I looked the judge in the eyes and said as sweetly as I could "No Your Honor, the fact that Sam Bradford won the Heisman last fall was completely warranted." (Sam is from OU in case you're not from around these parts, and Texas had their man McCoy in the runnings for it.)
I was dismissed...with a laugh from the judge and the others in the court room. I'm sure I'll get the summons again - - real soon.