Friday, September 12, 2008

Yankee fans are not your peers

I know why there are issues with the American justice system. Lawyers ask all the wrong questions.

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?

Upstanding citizens.

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.

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.

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.


Brad said...

Great post, although I'm sure more than a few Yankee fans would disagree with you.

Me and a few friends are heading to New York tomorrow to make Shea and Yankee Stadium number's 4 and 5in our quest to see a game in every park ( and I'm wondering if you can share any good bars to visit near Shea Stadium.

upstate met fan said...

Did you hear the Yankees just hired a new doctor to fix what's ailing them?


They got a gynecologist. ha!


By the way I gotta get new glasses.. I was there yesterday fr the DH and didn't realize Shea was so close to Flushing Bay (your title picture).

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Upstater and Brad, thanks for the kind words! By the end of next month, the only place Shea will still stand is on the banks of the mighty Grand River -- in that photo!

JLC 1863 said...

Did you like the "voir dire" process Dave?

I was on jury duty last year and I was sitting in the gallery watching my fellow prospective jurors get grilled by a overly nasty defense attorney here in Nassau.

Most of these people have never dealt with a lawyer before.

I wanted to get voir dired so bad!!
he wasn't that good of a lawyer.

At one point the attorney asked someone "if they lied and what people who lied are called". It took everything in me not to jump out of my seat and yell "Lawyers. They are called lawyers!!"

My record for being on the stand was 5 complete court days. About 36 of testimony. The worst part was the defense attorney had one blue eye and one brown eye.

I almost laughed at him several times as he was in my face yelling questions at me. I could not help but stare at those crazy eyes.