Welcome to my blog!

I used to blog here mostly using local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and then found myself posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing. These involve fabric recycling or re-use and refashioning of clothes, or other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs and may occasionally revert to those topics again. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jury Duty in the H. Carl Moultrie Building

Bronze Bust of Carl Moultrie
Entranceway: Carl Moultrie Building
This week I was called for jury duty and had marked it in my calendar but managed to sleep late that morning missing the 8 a.m. show up time. Nevertheless, I dashed over to the Carl Moutrie DC Superior Court House building arriving just before 10 a.m., relieved to find I could still check in (and not get fined $300 or thrown into jail as a no-show!). The clerk was very pleasant about it and explained well how I needed to sign in and what the next steps were.  So I waited in the "jury waiting room" for a panel to be called sorry that I hadn't brought a book or my laptop as they now have WiFi there! I was among the first jurors called about fifteen minutes later and we went before the judge for review of our ability to be "fair and impartial" in light of the charge. Clearly I had great difficulty with the charge --the only charge was felony possession of a handgun -- and so the judge excused me and I was sent back to the jury waiting room in case another panel was called.  After lunch I had time to peruse the bronze  plaque on the wall that explained how Carl Moultrie was the first African-American judge in D.C. Superior Court, appointed in 1972 by President Richard Nixon. Apparently he was instrumental in ensuring better court processes in D.C. courts were established among other achievements. Then back to the jury waiting room; about 3:15 p.m. another court clerk came in and said she was going to dismiss us as long we had not been instructed by any judge to re-appear. Two women in the back of the waiting room said they were supposed to be at one judge's chambers at 2:30 pm but "the door was locked and we couldn't get in."  This elicited a very angry lecture from the clerk who castigated these two prospective jurors for disobeying the judge's order back to his court. They protested again that the door was locked but the clerk continued to rail against them saying they should have gone to the court clerk's office and they were in danger of contempt of court. Another juror interrupted the clerk's angry lecture asking her to "please dismiss the rest of us if that is what you were going to do."  This elicited another angry admonishment by the clerk who said she wasn't finished talking to the other jurors about their obligation to appear when a judge ordered them and she wasn't ready to dismiss anyone yet.  I think everyone was silenced by this pure bureaucratic rage and hoped they'd be let go soon. Once the clerk finished her diatribe she did in fact let the rest of us go who had not been called into a judge's chamber, thanking us for our service and how we would not be contacted for another two years.  In the stairway down, a fellow juror muttered "she didn't have to be so nasty."  I agreed but did let her know that this jury experience was better than it used to be -- smoother security with politer guards, automated payment system for travel expense, new padded chairs, television with captioning, reading materials, trash and recycling barrels and a paint job in the jurors' waiting room, and a nearby clean women's bathroom. Also, overall the building was a lot cleaner, the cafe in the basement was more organized and -- but for this officious clerk -- the experience was much more pleasant than when I did jury duty previously.
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1 comment:

  1. maybe she was just "having a bad hair day"

    ReplyDelete