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Marissa Lingen

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The null juror. [Aug. 11th, 2010|08:09 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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The last week and a half, I was up for county jury duty. "Can't you get a medical exemption?" half the people I've told this have asked me. People. I am not undergoing chemo, or major surgery. I am dealing with an ongoing thing. I can't drive yet, and I'm wrestling with side effects, but medical exemptions are not for every last thing that might go wrong with a body, and all sorts of people can't drive and are not exempt from their civic duty.

Happily, I didn't actually have to go down to Hastings to get told I couldn't serve on a jury. (Because I really, really didn't think they were going to put me on a jury.) I just had to keep calling each night, and once in the middle of the afternoon, to see. The woman who recorded the messages started sounding really apologetic in the last few days. Finally this evening she said we were done. There was apparently only one trial in that time that wanted jury selection. At least twenty-five groups of potential jurors for that. The ratio of registered voters to felons in Dakota County, MN, is pretty phenomenal.

Anyway. As I said, wrestling with side effects. Some of you know. Nobody is actually standing over me going, "You haven't finished that yet?" Except for, um, me. I just finished my birthday thank-you notes today. I realize that for many of you the response to this is, "You write actual thank-you notes?" rather than, "How dilatory!" But yes, I am a gently-reared young person and a credit to my upbringing. Sort of. Mostly. Some of you will be able to tell that you received the last one I wrote, because I was a little punchy by then, and the salutation is...fond but eccentric.

We are getting ready to scatter to the corners of the earth. markgritter and timprov leave Monday. I don't leave until Thursday. I already have my Canadian money in a comforting little bank envelope, heavy with coin. Chocolate, crispy spinach, book discussion, and more. So excited. I am doing bizarre half-organized things like telling markgritter, "All right, I've washed darks and jeans, so only wear light-colored clothes until the weekend." But we'll get it all handled one way or another, I feel sure.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: redbird
2010-08-12 01:23 am (UTC)
Crispy spinach:! I had forgotten about the crispy spinach. cattitude and I don't leave until Friday, which limits the number of meals I will have in Montreal this trip, but I am looking forward to seeing you.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 01:40 am (UTC)
I never forget the crispy spinach. Mmmmm, crispy spinach.

With the limited number of meals, I don't want to swear absolutely that we should have crispy spinach together, because it may be better that we have something else nice. But if we did end up having crispy spinach together, that would be good.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 02:54 am (UTC)
The thing about crispy spinach is that it is crispy, and also spinach.

I mean. I know!
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[User Picture]From: aedifica
2010-08-12 03:46 am (UTC)
Canadian money! Ack! I suppose I'll just change money in the airport, or something.

Crispy spinach? It sounds like it could be good. Where would one find such a thing?
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-08-12 07:38 am (UTC)
I usually just take money out of the ATM whenever I arrive wherever I'm going. As far as I know the exchange rate is supposed to be better that way - but then again there's usually a fee for using a different bank.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 11:04 am (UTC)
You can get Canadian money at any branch bank around here if you end up having time. Minnesota banks assume that everybody will be going back and forth to Canada at the drop of a hat.

As for crispy spinach, the all-you-can-eat Asian fusion place has some, and I'm not sure where else. I know the place we ate up in Chinatown did, but that's going to be too far afield for the amount of time you're going to be spending. So I believe your best bet is to keep your ears open for AYCE Asian fusion. Which has other charms as well.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-08-12 06:44 am (UTC)
A great many people will seize upon any excuse at hand to get out of jury duty, so it's probably not that they think the vertigo absolutely needs a medical exemption, just that if they were in your shoes, they would use it in a heartbeat.

I got my first jury summons recently (first I had to deal with; before that I was a student), and had to make a conscious decision not to look for ways to weasel out of it. Because, y'know, civic duty, and our justice system really is one of the country's better ideas in concept, and I really have no justification for not doing my part to make the reality of the concept as good as I can.

I expect this attitude will last until the first time I actually get called for duty, at which point I'll become as cynical as everybody else. But until then, I'll citizen up and accept my duty.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 11:07 am (UTC)
I am not convinced that the vertigo could get a medical exemption, is the thing. "I feel dizzy some of the time, and the treatment is messing with me in the following ways," makes me feel like the doctor is going to tell me to get back out there and run my laps do jury duty. I may well underestimate how the doctors would react. (Since you've heard a recent report on what "in the following ways" includes, you may be going, "uh, yah.")

Which I have now officially done anyway, so it worked out.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-08-12 07:31 pm (UTC)
You could probably swing it, if that was what you wanted to do. If I were a lawyer, I would see it as sufficient reason to rule you out as a juror; it might distract you at a key moment when I need you to be paying attention.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 08:54 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it wouldn't, but I don't know that I could convince a lawyer it wouldn't to their satisfaction.
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[User Picture]From: dd_b
2010-08-12 02:38 pm (UTC)
I'm thoroughly convinced, deep inside, that at least one lawyer in any case would rather die than have me on their jury. So if they ever call me, it's going to feel like a waste of time. (For some reason, nobody has ever called me for jury duty, despite always being a registered voter, owning a car, owning property, having a drivers license, having a phone, etc; all the places they might look for people to call. I'm sure it's not really that they've figured out it would be a waste of their time and mine.)

No idea if it's really true; Mris has more actual probably-excluding factors than I do.
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[User Picture]From: alecaustin
2010-08-12 02:59 pm (UTC)
Lawyers have a limited number of preemptive challenges, is the thing. And I suspect that this was how my father ended up being on a felony jury. Because good lord, no trial lawyer I'm aware of would have wanted him there.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-08-12 07:35 pm (UTC)
I can't judge in your specific case, of course. I don't know if anybody would want me on their jury, either; I know some of the types of questions lawyers ask prospective jurors, and my answers would likewise probably make at least one of them not want me there. But for the time being -- having never experienced it myself -- I'm trying to tell myself I should act like a good little citizen.

If I were in your shoes of never even being notified, though, I wouldn't complain. My good-citizenship doesn't go that far. :-)
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-08-12 03:02 pm (UTC)
Here in MA you may postpone your jury duty for any reason whatsoever, and you usually even can pick the date you want to postpone it to. It's very civil. I had to postpone mine, a year back, because the end of August is the absolute worst time in the world for me to be anywhere but at the workplace.

But if you postpone, you don't get to postpone again (well, you do the next time you're called, but you can only get called once in three years at most), so you'd better pick a date in which you are prepared to show up and perhaps commit several days of your life, or they get testy.

I found jury duty to be an interesting and eye-opening experience, by the way. I was in for a murder trial and served for nearly two weeks. I was extremely cynical about the usefulness and value of the jury system until I served it; I now have renewed faith that the crazy idea actually seems to work well a lot of the time.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-08-12 07:37 pm (UTC)
That's actually good to hear, given how much people usually talk about jury duty as a burden to be wiggled out of if at all possible.

I did postpone my duty the first time I got called, because the dates were for right when I was finishing a book, and if I'd had to actually serve it would have really messed with my work schedule. When my new date rolled around, I called in the night before and got a message saying I was completely off the hook. So far, that's my only experience.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 03:00 pm (UTC)
That sounds remarkably plan-like! I'm in.

I'm pretty bouncy and excited now. It's a good thing I have fun plans for tonight and Saturday and intervening times, or I would do nothing but count seconds.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-08-12 02:56 pm (UTC)
One of the primary reasons I don't write thank-you notes is because I never do them in a timely fashion and I hate feeling dilatory. But I admire the people who have the moral character to do them, timely or not. I am wholly aware I'm a bum.

Canadian money, heavy with coin, is the primary reason I'm really not sure I approve of a dollar coin in the US even though I know why it's sane and desirable for a number of important reasons. Your pocket/purse/wallet/whatever gets so HEAVY in Canada. And since I have been instilled by US upbringing to think, "coins generally do not reflect any significant amount of purchasing power," there's a point about 48 hours into any given trip into Canada where I think, "Oh, damn, I'm out of paper money, I'll need to get more to buy coffee"* and then I do and generate even more coins in change, and by the end of the trip I shamefacedly realize I have $10+ in coins weighing down my pocket.

* It's always coffee. Morning coffee is virtually the only purchase in my existence which I routinely buy with cash instead of plastic.

I realize none of this has much to do with anything; pardon my rambles.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 03:01 pm (UTC)
The problem is actually that I spend my loonies and twonies--and thereby don't spend the quarters.

I get thank-you notes written because I loooooove stationery. Which is shallow, but there you have it.
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[User Picture]From: gaaldine
2010-08-12 03:03 pm (UTC)
*sigh* One really shouldn't slight Hastings. There are good people there.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-08-12 03:05 pm (UTC)
On what planet is, "I can't drive and don't want to commit resources to having someone drive me 30-40 minutes to not be selected to be on a jury" a slight to the location of that jury?
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[User Picture]From: gaaldine
2010-08-12 07:06 pm (UTC)
A planet where teasing nuance can't easily be detected via lj comments, apparently.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-08-13 09:00 pm (UTC)
I certainly would have been one of those to pipe up that you should get a medical exemption (I have one! They're trendy). Sitting around in a confined space for unknown amounts of time while you might feel dizzy and may sometimes have to run out to puke (or get air, or whatever) sounds like a good enough reason to me.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-08-13 09:01 pm (UTC)
Rewording: that you COULD, not that you should. :D
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[User Picture]From: mycroftw
2010-08-17 09:02 pm (UTC)
The one time I was called I was going to be at work, out of the province, in a situation where I wasn't easily replaceable (they'd have to import someone from the U.S. to replace me). Wrote out the form stating same, waited a couple of days, got the exemption, went to B.C.

Didn't feel good about it, because it's an important duty. Had it been any other week, I would go.
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