I am a free woman.
I had court this morning because I forgot about jury duty one week last month and so I had to tell them why I didn’t show. My sweet friend Rebecca from work went with me and even bought me coffee and a scrumptious pear muffin from WPA. There was some good people- watching in line for the metal detector: a man in a frayed one-peace suit (a crushed felt jacket with a peace sign on the back), a surprisingly large number of women with bright red or blue braids, and a grown man carrying court papers in a Lisa Frank folder.
I was super nervous and may have had a quivering lip while I was asking for mercy? I don’t even know what I said. The judge was kind. He laughed and asked me if I’d be willing to serve jury duty again in December. Absolutely. I was really grateful not to get a fine or even have to pay court costs. Thanks to Google, I learned last night that Jermaine Dupree had to serve 3 days in jail when he missed jury duty and a Boston judge was fining people a thousand dollars each. Yikes.
Logically, I knew everything would probably be fine but there’s always that one percent chance..so, I’ve been worried. It’s a relief to not have that unknown out there anymore.
A couple cases were brought in front of the judge before mine. One was a seventeen year old girl who was being taken into custody to await her trial next week. She cried, but then sat there stone-faced and unrepentant in her graphic tee with cut-off sleeves. I can imagine the road ahead of her being long and hard.
The other was an older man (maybe 60’s?)who had 13 counts of felony drug charges. I can’t imagine being in and out of the system like that. There was a lot of brokenness in those court buildings. There was also a marked difference in skin color. I was one of two white people in the courtroom that weren’t lawyers.
It’s a strange feeling to be grateful for an upbringing that taught me to honor the law and to be a productive citizen, and to be deeply sad for people who have only known trouble and heartache.
I know I could have easily fallen into some bad stuff if God hadn’t pulled me out of my less-than-upright existence ten years ago. I sat in courtrooms with more than one boyfriend (and they weren’t lawyers). They deserved their sentences. I wasn’t the smartest boyfriend-picker.
On the other hand, I have a great friend who ended up in jail for 6 months due to substance abuse issues, and believe me when I tell you he is one of the kindest, most good-hearted people I have ever known. Not all people in jail are bad.
People screw up. They make mistakes. Sometimes people do wrong on purpose. I am grateful for our judicial system. I really am. The right to a fair trial is a beautiful thing.
Ok, I’m done not writing now. I’m gonna breathe in all of this fresh, freedom scented air and enjoy the day with one less thing on my shoulders, a few new musings in my mind, and a whole lot to be grateful for.
Yours, on the outside,