So I came back the next day thinking, from what they'd told me the day before, that I'd been picked for the jury. Seemed like a lot simpler process that what I'd heard about, but what did I know, never done this before.

The paper said be there at 8:30. I get there at 8:30, same room, and wait with almost 60 other people. At 9:30 someone finally shows up to tell us what's going on, and they take us up to the court room. It's not huge, after they bring in 11 extra chairs there's exactly enough seats in the gallery for the 60 of us. Now the process of voir dire begins, when the two attorneys ask the prospective jurors questions to decide who they want on the jury.

So meet the attorneys time. The prosecutor is a big older guy. Hair is really thin on top, but he's trying like hell to hide it with a boldly attempted combover. He comes across as a little bit long-winded and absent-minded from the get go, and every now and then he slips into a southern accent. He was basically your stereotypical older southern lawyer who brings to mind Foghorn Leghorn or Futurama's hyperchicken.

The defense team, by contrast, is composed of two very young lawyers. The main one was a guy who reminded me, for all the world, of Jeremy Piven, not like in personality or anything, but in looks and sort of this impression I got from him. I don't know how to describe it exactly. It's kind of like, when you see Jeremy Piven, you don't feel like he's a guy you can trust implicitly, maybe it's the parts he's played or just some quality he has. I got sort of the same thing from this lawyer. Maybe it was just that he was a lawyer. The other lawyer on the defense was just sort of acting as an assistant in this case. She only spoke up in court once. Mostly she just whispered stuff back and forth with him. She was a smoking hot blonde and also, as it turns out, his wife.

So those were the lawyers. When I have to refer back to them I will probably use "prosecutor" and "hyperchicken" or "defense attorney" and "jeremy piven" interchangeably. Partially because I don't actually remember their names, but mostly because it's more fun that way.

As for the other players;

The judge seemed like a good guy, but throughout the trial, especially during voir dire, he seemed to just sort of lean on his hand and fall asleep. I never really realized how boring a judges job is a lot of the time. Basically, he is only there is there is a dispute between the lawyers about some point of the law, and then he decides who is right. Other than that and giving orders to the bailiff to bring a witness in or send them out or whatever, he just kind of sits there. There were a couple of times during the trial when one of the lawyers would object, and he'd sort of start up, and it was obvious he hadn't really been paying close attention.

The defendant, well, you're not supposed to let impressions interfere with making a decision based only on the evidence. So I tried hard not to let the way this guy struck me bias my thinking, but he looked shady from the moment I saw him, and when they told us about what he was charged with he had such a smug look on his face that I wanted to fucking slap him. In fact, that smug, unconcerned look recurred a lot during the trial, and whether he was guilty or not, I found myself disliking the guy intensely.

Lastly, there was the bailiff. He was the main person who we interacted with during the trial. Actually, the judge told us we weren't allowed to interact with anyone else involved with the case, except for routine greetings. So we could like say hi to one of the lawyers, but nothing more than that. Bailiff was a really nice older guy, made everyone coffee every morning and stuff. A retired cop of something of the kind, I think he said. Bit of a gut, and he seemed really comfortable with his job. He told us when we first went into the jury room that we had to stay awake during the trial, but he did not. So if he started snoring, juror 12, who was sitting right next to him was to give him a little poke.

So that's all the players until the jury is selected. At the end of this journal, I'll give you a scorecard of the jurors, but we're not there yet.

So back to the room. 60 of us crammed into these chairs. I am the first person in the second row. So like #16 or 60. The first thing is the hyperchicken introduces all the lawyers and the defendant and asks if anyone knows any of them. It's quiet for a long moment, and then one woman breaks the ice by raising her hand and saying that she knows the female defense attorney, who represented her in a child custody case. Prosecutor asks if that will affect her ability to be impartial as a juror in the case, and she says no (this is the form most of the opening questions take. "Do you know so-and-so, if so will it hurt your impartiality, will it make you give their testimony more or less weight than someone else's, etc.?") They ask again, does anyone else know anyone up here? Another long pause, and someone just hollers out, "I know the judge!" There's a laugh, and the prosecutor is like, "And I congratulate you on that, sir."

There was a lot of questions, and I won't go into them all. I'll just give you an overview of what the questions were trying to establish. Hyperchicken told us what the charge against the defendant was. The exact wording was, "Indecency with a child by exposure." Then he gave us the definition. Basically, it involves intentionally exposing your genitals or anus to or in the presence of a child with the intention to gratify the sexual desire of any person. So it's pulling down your pants when you know there's a child in the room because you get off on it or because you think somehow the child will get off on it or a third person will. That's what he was accused of. If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender and get up to 20 years in prison.

Continued in comments