I did not get seated in a jury duty during my stint this week. We were only called for one trial — a nasty criminal case — but I did get to sit in the gallery with the other prospects while attorneys asked lots of questions in a process called "voir dire."
I think that’s French for "Are you related to a police officer?"
That seemed to be the question most asked, but there were a couple others, too, including whether the potential juror had been a crime victim.
But I sat there stunned and amazed that the most obvious query, the one that allows us to look deeply into a person’s soul, wasn’t asked once. Clearly, that question is: What is your team affiliation?
But if a potential juror answered, "New York Yankees! Twenty-six world championships! Jeter! Jeter! Jeter! Twenty-six world championships!" you would know immediately that he embraces evil in all its forms and should probably be seated alongside the defendant, but just hasn’t been caught yet.
If a person answered, "Duh, of course I root for the Mets." you know he or she is intelligent and fair. He knows good times and bad. He knows that good people, like, say, Carlos Delgado, can start out bad and then turn good, usually after two months of constructive criticism coming in the form of deafening boos.
Would you place your fate in this guy's hands?
Next time I’m called, I’ll make sure to wear my Mets tie so we can telegraph such important information.
In all seriousness, anybody related to a police officer seemed to be quickly thanked and excused. The guy who turned out to be a Secret Service agent was even more quickly thanked and excused.
We started with 50 potential jurors, and there were only a dozen of us left by the time they found 14 people — a dozen jurors and two alternates — who were acceptable to both sides.
I never got into the box to be questioned. But a newspaper reporter who counts police officers and a prosecutor among his closest relatives was not going to last long anyway.
Other people who where thanked and excused were crime victims at one point, worked for a law firm that was consulted by someone connected with the case or made it very, very clear that they didn’t want to be there.
But there were a couple of people excused for reasons we couldn’t determine. Maybe they were Yankee fans.