December 14, 2006
Had to do Jury Duty for the first time ever (which is quite lucky) on Tuesday and, annoyingly, was assigned to a courtroom 30 miles away in Ayer, rather than in Cambridge or something. We sat around in the jury pool room from 8:30 to 11:15 until finally brought down to be empaneled for the one case that hadn't been settled. I probably could have gotten out of it but didn't and did end up on the jury along with 7 others - the other 8 people were sent home then. We then heard the case but got interrupted just before closing arguments for lunch. After lunch, heard closing arguments and a quite long explanation from the judge of the law and such. Two of the eight of us were then randomly selected as alternates and the other six of us went to deliberate which only took like 10 minutes and probably would have taken 1 minute if they hadn't asked us not to take an immediate straw poll - very easy unanimous not guilty verdict. We then went back down to give our verdict and then back to our room where the judge came to talk to us and answer questions we had for a while which was nice and then out of there around 3:30.
The actual case REALLY should NOT have been brought by the District Attorney. The case was a criminal case for 'Cruelty to an Animal' based on the defendant kicking a dog (which wasn't even hurt that badly and not taken to the vet until 36 hours later). However, it was a straight "he said, she said" case of two women out walking their dogs, passing on the road, and the two dogs getting into a dog fight. The defendant had the smaller dog and involved herself to protect her dog, trying to kick the other dog away. This part was agreed upon by all and isn't at all illegal. There was a bunch of debate about which dog started the fight and such things but really that had nothing to do with the case we were asked to decide. Even if the defendant's dog had started the fight, if she had involved herself to protect her dog, she was fine. The woman with the other dog claimed that AFTER the dog fight was broken up, the defendant came back again to kick her dog some more and if this had occurred, she would probably have been guilty of the charge. However, she (and her boyfriend who was with her) both denied this happened and the Assistant DA prosecuting the case didn't even push it so I don't see any way any jury was going to decide beyond a reasonable doubt that the one woman was telling the truth and the other woman (and her boyfriend) lying. We actually asked the judge why a case like this was brought and he basically indicated it was probably for political reasons.
Anyway, despite the stupidity and smallness of the case, the day was kind of interesting - was only the sitting around, particularly the 3 hours at the beginning, that bothered me. Neither lawyer impressed me but I did like the judge and thought his coming up to talk with us at the end and being very open to our questions then was quite nice. The rest of the court employees were obviously just going through the motions of their assignments.
Played last week on Cthulhia's wonderful baked gingerbread Carcassonne set. Since I lost, a few of my Meeples had to pay the price - Yum!
December 05, 2006
Cars and Heroes
Finally watched Cars, the latest Pixar movie, on DVD last night. Wonderful animation, writing, humor, visuals and voice acting as usual. ****
Also watched the end of the first half season of Heroes, which started out good and just keeps getting bettter and better with each episode. If you have missed this up until now, I highly recommend it. For the past few weeks, has been my favorite hour of TV.