getting into situations where you need it. ~Doug Larson
A few weeks ago, I was empanelled as a member of the Federal Grand Jury.
Now, this distinction came to me: I did not seek it. I was summoned, just as many of us are summoned to be jurors in our local courts. The difference is that my commitment is for six months, and rather than being one of twelve jurors who decide guilt or innocence, I am one of sixteen people who decide to indict or not to indict.
Yesterday was my first official day, and it was a fascinating experience! We heard six cases, presented by six different attorneys for the United States. We heard witnesses from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and a couple of special agents from the State Department. I would tell you the details of what went on, but then I'd have to kill you.
Just teasing, of course. They would kill me, instead.
We are bound to secrecy in all of this, which is difficult for someone like me who loves to share every detail of her life. But I respect the reasons why we can't talk about what we do. Suffice to say that it's an eye-opening experience for this law-abiding citizen (does an occasional speeding ticket count?) As corny as it may sound, I feel honored to be part of the justice system at this high level.
So once a week for the next six months, I will be driving into Los Angeles to wear the hat of a Federal Grand Juror. This will be good for me because I get really nervous driving alone around such a big city. Correction: a HUGE city with some of the worst rush-hour traffic in the country.
I took a wrong turn at the bottom of my exit yesterday and ended up in LA's Chinatown district. But I was very proud of myself: I kept my head and remained calm, weaving my way back to where I needed to be, with time to spare. Next week will be easier, now that I've done it once.
So that's where you'll find me every Friday for the next couple of months: listening to the crazy ways we humans can break our laws, and deciding if that person should stand trial. Until yesterday, I had never actually seen an FBI agent in the flesh.
Funny: they look just like the rest of us.
Until next time...