Monday, February 19, 2018

How Jury Duty Got Out of Having ME!


Local author, Randall Kenneth Jones Submitted Photo

Local author, Randall Kenneth Jones Submitted Photo

The new book, “Show Me” by local author Randall Kenneth Jones, features celebrity interviews alongside humorous anecdotes from the author’s life. In this excerpt, RKJ gets “invited” to Collier County jury duty.

After two hours, a dozen or so juror names were called, including mine. “Bubbles” (love her!) efficiently directed me and my potential juror pals into a single-file line before we marched off to an upstairs courtroom.

The problems first started when the prosecuting attorney opened his mouth—let’s call him “Doogie.” By my estimation, Doogie was about seventeen years old. And Doog had not even completed his first sentence before committing faux pas No. 1: “…I ask you to return a verdict of NOT GUILTY.”

Huh? Aren’t you the prosecutor?

Having realized his mistake, Doogie recanted— admitting to having only recently changed from the defense to the prosecution side of the table. Oopsie! And where did he work before that? The GAP?

But my mind was open and my sense of duty clear as Doogie asked if any of us had any strong opinions regarding the legality of prostitution. After one awkwardly skinny, mature gentleman shot his hand in the air to renounce all-things-sexual, the room sat awkwardly silent.

Asexualman had proven to be a legalsystem buzzkill.

I tentatively raised my hand: “I must admit, I have an issue any time the government tries to tell any woman what she can or cannot do with her body.” Although I realized I was shooting myself in the juryselection foot, I had to tell the truth. Plus, if we were going to get any traction on this topic, someone had to fire the first volley. Bang! Let’s get this party started!

An adult would have thought Doogie would leave me alone at that point. But for some reason, he kept coming back:

“What do you do for a living?”

“Uh…sales.” My typical one-size-fitsall response.

“And do you close every sale?”

“Uh…no, I don’t.”

“But even if you don’t close the deal would you argue that the sales process took place?”

OMG, Doogie is going to try to convict based upon an incomplete transaction. Way to tip your hat on that issue, Doog!

After a comment or two from other jury candidates, an even more determined D.A. Doogie returned to face me: “Mr. Randall, let me ask you this.”

Though it takes a special kind of person to mess up “Jones,” I chose to not correct him.

“Mr. Randall, don’t you feel you would be less likely to uphold the law in this— uh—specific situation?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Mr. Randall, do you feel you can— uh—address this alleged crime with the— uh—seriousness it deserves?”

“Yes I do. I am a law-abiding citizen. I understand the concept of legal vs. illegal.”

“Mr. Randall, you don’t—uh—think you’d—uh—take, for example, a murder trial—uh—more seriously?”

“I WOULD HOPE WE WOULD ALL TAKE A MURDER TRIAL MORE SERIOUSLY!”

Doogie chose to not only take up almost all of the allotted Q & A time, but attempted to go head-to-head in a battle of wits with me—the positive communication advocate who publicly admits to fearing nothing except for bunny rabbits, my dental hygienist, Cerise Pierce and ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas. What turnip truck did this guy just fall off?

And like the Energizer Bunny of the Florida Legal System, Doogie came back for more.

“So Mr. Randall…”

Obviously aware of my mounting frustration, “Judge Dapperdan” stepped into the fray: “Excuse me; it’s Mr. Jones, correct? Not Mr. Randall?”

Exasperated, I loudly declared: “Yes— but, you know, at this point, I’ll answer to anything.”

I don’t know if it’s rare for a jury pool to giggle, but this one proceeded to do so as Doogie morphed from a light red to deep crimson in color.

But here’s the kicker: I heard yet another solitary snicker coming from the other side of the courtroom. I briefly glanced over and, to my amazement, it was the defendant— Ms. Alleged-Lady-of-the-Evening herself—expressing her amusement.

True, everyone is entitled to have a bad day at work. But in any situation, when the hooker laughs—you’re in deep doo-doo.

More “Show Me,” visit ShowMeJones.com.

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