Jury Duty

judge edited via BL.jpg

The judge is a large white man with a large white mustache.  He sits under  illuminated silver words, “In God We Trust.”

The defendant wears a beautiful pink shirt.  He is accused of shooting someone to death on Stuyvesant Ave.

Amazing how quickly potential jurors are divided into given demographics: married, unmarried, children, no children, renting, owning.

When I say I am involved in an organization called Occupy Bushwick the stenographer makes me repeat it twice.

The defendant seems to be staring at me, and I awkwardly catch his eye when I look up.  I have no idea if he wants me on his jury.  I have no idea where I rank in this game, a single white woman who studies media.  I realize it’s strategy, but that pink shirt is damn beautiful.

We file out, we file in.  The air is static.  Names are read, and none of them are mine.  I am surprised by my own relief.  I want to leave this room, this windowless room with a male judge and all male council and armed male guards.

Downstairs, another indefinite wait.  I am told I will not have to do this again for eight years and given a document stating, “Thank you for your participation and contribution to the delivery of justice.”

In ten weeks I will receive a check for $40.00.

Image: from page 13 of Ballads of the Bench and Bar, edited by J. B. Paul and J. J. Reid, 1882, via British Library on flickr