The Christmas carol goes -- "along the Milky Way -- I got off at the North Pole to spend a holiday . . . "
Except I just came back from spending the morning in the Kansas City Federal Court House. I'd been selected for federal court duty for the month of December and lucky me, I had to report at 8 a.m. in the downtown court house. They pull a pool of people together at the start of every week and from them they select jury members.
About 55 of us were in the room this morning. Initially they had thought that two cases were to be heard, but one got settled late last night. I was put in the initial jury pool for the tax fraud case being heard today -- 34 of us were selected for the pool.
Judge Dean Whipple asked us questions and we were to rise, hold up our jury card, and answer truthfully if we had something to report:
- Are you under indictment at the current time?
- Have you ever had an occasion to be called in by the IRS?
- Do you live in the 29 counties represented by this federal jurisdiction?
- Have you ever been a witness in a court case?
- Have you ever had a crime committed against your person?
- Can you sit still for 90 minutes without having to leave the courtroom?
And so on and on and on.
All the people involved in the case were introduced and then we were asked if we knew any of them. Finally we had to stand and say our names, our occupations and where we were employed (or from where we had retired), our marital and parental status, and our educational history. I was completely bamboozled by the fact that the Judge seemed to know me and my name -- thought I'd swear I'd never met the man in my life.
(Caveat - I was part of a group that filed suit in federal court in 1990 against the Kansas City School District and the federal deseg order we were under at the time. I wonder if he knew about that -- he certainly was old enough to).
After nearly two hours of this we were asked to wait outside the courtroom while a selection of 13 people were chosen (one alternate) -- and the rest of us were told to go on home and check back next week.
Luckily, December is a very light month for court cases. Only one case is scheduled for next week and the court aids thought they had enough untapped resources that none of us would be called back. During the 3rd week of December no court cases are on the docket.
I was home by 1:00 with barbecue in hand for Hubby's lunch. I'm very glad I'm not spending my "holiday" within the judicial system. Now Santa can actually "tell his plans to me ... "
So you better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town