I covered a trial once where I swore one juror slept through the entire trial. Another juror oddly held his lunchbox in his lap the entire time as if the bailiff was ready to run off with his sandwich the moment he set it on the ground.
The defendant was found not guilty, which seemed to be a shock even to his attorney, who had a "guilty" statement all prepared and didn’t bother to write one for the verdict that actually arrived.
Then I was part of a jury pool. One by one, a court worker pulled numbers from a bin and potential jurors reluctantly made their way to the witness box to answer questions. It seemed like everyone had an excuse for why they couldn’t serve, or blatantly answered questions in a way they knew would get them dismissed.
I came to this realization: Defendants do not get a jury of their peers, they get a jury of people who can’t get out of jury duty.
If I were ever a defendant with my life hanging in the balance, I’d want a jury of educated, professional Mets fans and not sleepers or paranoids.
I vowed that if called, I would proudly serve.
And this week I might get my chance. The summons to appear for jury duty recently appeared in the mailbox. I have a secret juror number, and call the court each night this week to see if I am needed.
It’s unlikely I’d get picked for a criminal trial. Reporters who are related to police officers and prosecutors are often sent back to the waiting room.
But I should be ready for action. And practice makes perfect.
Let’s try some sample cases.
Defendant: Carlos Delgado
Crime: Being a washed-up power hitter.
Prosecution: The first half of the season
Defense: Since Willie was dismissed, Carlos has been among the league leaders in home runs, RBI and late-game dramatics.
Verdict: Not guilty! Yea! Now go beat up the Phillies.
Defendant: Derek F. Jeter
Charge: Being grossly over-hyped.
Prosecution: Capt. Intangibles is hitting under .300 with just 9 homers, 10 steals and 66 RBI, has the range of a stone garden gnome and his team is going to miss the playoffs.
Defense: There is no defending Derek F. Jeter.
Verdict: Guilty as sin!
Defendant: Rachael Ray
Charge: Unnatural enhancements
Defense: Um, Photoshop maybe?
Verdict: Appears to be guilty. No tampering with the ingredients, please!
Defendant: Alex Rodriguez
Charge: Exceedingly bad taste
Prosecution: Caught slinking out of Madonna’s Manhattan pad.
Defense: "Open Your Heart" and "Like a Prayer" are decent songs.
Verdict: Guilty! Date people your own age and with hits in the last decade.
There you go! This shouldn’t be that hard. All I request is to have cupholders in the jury box for my Diet Coke and WiFi should the Mets play an afternoon game.