would rather steal second base
than an automobile. ~Tom Clark
Today is my last day to serve as a federal grand jury member. It’s hard to believe so much time has gone by: I’ve been doing this every Friday since February. How is it possible that we’re now in the middle of June?
The good news is that for whatever reason, they’re releasing us early. We were supposed to serve until August. I sure won’t miss getting up at 0-dawn-hundred on Friday mornings, or that nasty freeway drive into Los Angeles, and coming home in Friday afternoon traffic.
But what I will miss are the people with whom I’ve served. This experience really bonded a number of us, and we look forward to seeing each other every week. I don’t even know their last names…
There’s Alex, who twice brought me blood oranges from the tree in his back yard, and Bill, who works as a location manager for the television industry. He has the quickest sense of humor: we keep each other laughing! Then there's Betty, who will retire next year after 35 years of teaching second grade; Kenny, a tall, skinny dude who lives in Compton, and always asks about whatever hand-quilting project I've brought with me that week. Ben is quiet and thoughtful, sings in a band and has bright-red spiked hair; Alison, who is doing Weight Watchers and has lost 60 pounds, works at Disneyland, in the shops on Main Street.
Our group of 24 (the amount required for a federal grand jury) really is a cross section of America: young and old; black, brown, white; male and female; seemingly wealthy to seemingly not-so. We're an interesting mix, and I will miss seeing them.
We’ve also heard our fair share of note-worthy cases, everything from counterfeiting and bank robbery, to passport fraud and assault on a postal worker (which is a federal crime – who knew?) The child pornography cases were few and far between, which was a blessing. Those were the worst. The drug cases were numerous, and almost got boring in their repetitious nature. But I have to share one with you that made our day last Friday. It’s a little crass, but it’s all true!
We only had two cases that morning, both of them drug cases. In the second one, the defendant had crack cocaine in his pockets, and he was trying to hide it before he was arrested. The United States Attorney was questioning the D.E.A. witness and asked (and I quote), "Isn't it true that the defendant tried to hide the packets of crack between his butt checks, in his anal canal?" The agent somberly answered, "Yes."
Do you have ANY idea how hard it was for all of us to keep from laughing out loud? You should have heard the eruption when the attorney and the agent left the room so we could deliberate. I mean, crack in the crack?? It doesn't get much better than that!
And on that note folks, I’m off to serve my last day!
Until next time…