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A Day at the Courthouse (Jury Duty is a Waste of Time)

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 10:23 PM



7:30 AM

It was a nice, warm marning and a line at the Burbank Courthouse was already forming. The doors had yet to be open yet but there seemed to be at least fifty to sixty people by my estimation. Most held in their hands their jury summons, including myself. I noticed a few odd characters in the bunch. An old woman, at least seventy and with a walker, smoked liked a chimney near the front doors. An older man reminded me of grizzley adams only wearing a members only jacket. A potentially cute girl ended up being a pass upon further inspection.  A middle aged man with a guitar who, I would find out later, carried it wherever he goes. The winner for most odd, however, was the bald, overweight asian man wearing baggy jeans and a Dr. Dre "The Chronic" T-Shirt.


8:00 AM

The doors opened and the flood of people crept towards the door. I held back, there was no reason to push and shove as though I actually wanted to get into the jury assembly room. After passing through security, recollecting all metal objects I owned, I made my way to th second floor.


8:30 AM

Everybody settles into the jury assembly room, which is pretty much a waiting room but with vending machines. The small couch like seats were concaved, meaning you couldn't lay down, and everybody had the exact same expression. The one that says "Goddamnit, why am I here?"


8:45 AM

Orientation began in the only fashion people know: television. A video played. I already knew this stuff however. Democracy, fair trial, blah blah blah.  Rather than really pay attention, I noticed a crossworld puzzle yet to be tackled in a paper sitting next to me. I play around with it a bit.


9:00 AM

The video ended and assignments, talking, instructions began. Pretty boring stuff. Eventually, about 30 minutes or so in, people were assigned. I was lucky enough to not get in the first group of potential jurors where most of the people were assisgned. They left and we were told we wouldn't be needed until around 1:00PM. We could do whatever we wanted.

I checked some emails, played a little on the internet and made note of my surroundings now that the room was pretty empty save for me and about ten others.  There are pictures of famous people on the walls, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Edward James Olmos, Ed Asner and Judge Ito, all labled as people who did their duty as jurors.


10:30 AM

Time to leave for a bit, I had two and a half hours to kill so I walked the area of downtown burbank. If you've never been to Downtown Burbank, you're not missing much, but at least it has some things to do and places to eat.


10:45 AM

A little down on third street I came across the Cartoon Network building. I wanted to go in and tell them to fix their programming.


11:00 AM

I came across the "heart" of downtown Burbank which was full of stores, plazas and restaurants. My first stop was Ross. While it's publicized as a clothing store, it's really just a thrift store with all sorts of things and I've found the art section pretty good. There's a nice print of New York on a canvas - only $12 when it would probably go for double that at Target or Z Gallerie. I make note of it to come back later. There's also the following:




 

That's right, Ed Hardey glassware. Seriously? There is no God. I quickly passed by them, but had to snap a picture.


11:15 AM

"Wow," I thought to myself. "There sure are a lot of Greek/Mediterranean places around here."


11:20 AM





Fuddruckers, a popular and common place yet one I've never been to. Unfortunately, the film Idiocracy has ruined the place for me and I can't say the name of the restaurant without cracking up. There was also a book store here, quite large and full of used books, but also very sparce in terms of variety. Nothing caught my eye other than it was a giant space wasted on a mediocre selection. In contrast....


11:30 AM

I noticed a little store from across the street called the "Movie Shop" or something of that nature. After nearly getting hit by an old lady in a Honda, I walked over and entered. It wasn't a movie store, but a massive bookstore: massive in that it had at least ten times the selection of the previous store but only at about a fourth the size. It was certainly movie-centric, though, which made me exicted. Book upon books, shelves stacked on shelves standing fifteen feet high. Barely enough room to walk.


Giant, vintage movie posters hung overhead. Rare books in glass cases covered in dust. Just glancing the shelves, you can get lost because it's completely overhweleming and haphazardly organized. I found my way to the directors/filmmakers section where some classic books were on hand covering any director, writer, editor, producer, critic you can think of. Selznik, Ford, Truffaut, Ozu, Scorsese, Kubrick, Lean, Wiler...name it, it was there. Another section had movie-specific books and magazines, even a few Cachier de Cinema which I found interesting. In the back were posters, fiction books, and, as random as this is, lobby cards and production stills. I thumbed through them: In the Name of the Rose, good movie. The High Country, better movie.


Teen Wolf Too? What the hell?


I was pretty impressed, although I would need a whole day to go back there. I even took a picture of at leat a couple of the aisles:





11:50 AM

Time became completely lost to me, and I could hear by stomach grumbling. It was close to lunchtime and I wanted something different, so why not some Hawaiian BBQ? Might as well, it's overpriced but I wanted something different. Unfortunatly, it was pretty dissapointing as it tasted a basic Chinese Teriyaki Chicken.


12:15 PM

I ate it quick as the lunch crowd started to file in.  Time to get back to the courthouse.


12:30 PM

I had to remove everything and recheck with security, even with the fancy juror badge I possess.  I returned to the second floor assembly room. A large hispanic woman loudly ate a large box of crackers in the corner. I think there's one thing that would make all this much more pleasurable (other than booze): punch and cookies. It's simple, fairly cheap and if you offer food and drink to people they are that much more pleased to be around because right now everyone still looks completely miserable.


12:35 PM

After sitting on the concave couches, I realize that the BBQ was a bad idea. Dave Chapelle was right, the Itis will get you. I play around with my iphone, keep humming the song from the game Robot Unicorn Attach (check it out, it's addicting) and try desperatly to be awake. I kept thinking back to that Teen Wolf Too photo. I wanted to buy is based solely on the complete randomness of it being there. How did it end up at that store to begin with?


1:00 PM

Boring jury stuff time. I entered the courtroom, the judge seemed nice but you can read on her face this was something she's done hundred of times before. I was in the "alternate" group, or, rather, the potential alternates that might be chosen. I sit in the audience area, but they've chosen their alternates before I'm even called up.


The defendant's attorney is kinda cute in that "sassy, cute blonde" kind of way.


That comes with the risk of her being a complete bitch, though. I could see it going either way.


1:45 PM

Done and done, at leat the court part. I'm given a neat green certificate that is practically like getting the silver star next to your name in Kindergarden.

On my way out of the buiding, I took one last picture. I couldn't take one of the courthouse, I was told, so I went across the street and took one of the pretty cool looking Burbank City Hall with the giant fountain and eagle.




2:00 PM

With my day pretty much over my this point, I start heading back to Ross to pick up that New York print. The streets were far busier now, all sorts walking around and going about their day. I see a Japanese Restaurant on the corner, something I'd missed before, but I took more notice of the Japanese people on the roof (?) smoking a hell of a lot of cigarettes.


2:15 PM

Ross was packed now, which if you've ever been to one you shouldn't be surprised, but I found my print...right next to a random framed photograph of Raiders Pro-Bowl Quarterback Ken Stabler. Only in California would that pass as "art."


I still shook my head more at the Ed Hardy glasses, though.

 

Signing Off

-JC


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