Today I deliver on my promise for the second half of my adventures in jury duty! You can read the first part here:
After being summarily rejected for the first trial based upon the fact I worked as a lawyer for the defendant corporation, and after taking a moment to apologize to one of the defendants for my bad behavior several years ago, I trotted out of the courtroom and headed down the stairs.
Back to the jury pen, and only a few minutes went by until I was called for my next opportunity to judge someone’s behavior – something I never do!
A smaller group than before was called, and as we took our seats in the hard, wooden pews, I happily observed I knew nobody! Not the judge, not the lawyers, not the plaintiff, not the defendant’s representative (the defendant was the City of Salem and therefore too big to sit at counsel table).
Yay! I had a shot! I am not throwing away my shot!
I answered plaintiff’s counsel’s questions dutifully, and when asked if I’d ever been in an accident in which someone was hurt, I divulged one of the most painful experiences of my life.
I thought I did well! Surely he would see that I could be fair and impartial, despite my possession of a law degree and incredibly fabulous shoes.
Next up was defense counsel, who started with me.
“DeeCamp? Is it DeeCamp?”
I sighed. This was starting to get old.
“No, it’s ‘DesCamp.’ The ‘s’ isn’t silent.”
“That’s an unusual name, isn’t it?” he asked.
“Yes…” I responded. I knew where this was going.
“I knew a man named John DesCamp.” Are you related to him?”
Succinct is my thing! Except, as you can see, in my writing.
The lawyer seemed nice enough but I couldn’t help note his suit was about three sizes too big for him. I wondered if he had recently lost about 50 pounds and 6 inches.
“How are you related to him?”
I sighed again, this time with perceptible exasperation, and prepared to once again gather my things. This was starting to remind me of the teammate selection process of my childhood, in which I was almost universally the last person called.
Don’t feel sorry for me. I’m over it.
“He’s my father.”
“Well, I’ll be! I went to law school with your dad! We wrote a paper together! You tell him I said ‘hello!'”
“How nice for you,” I quipped. “I’ll be sure to pass along the message.”
Any bets on whether I was selected for that case?
We broke for lunch and when we returned the lawyers named their chosen jurors. Shockingly, I was not among those seated.
I really need to move one of these days.
The Hypocrisy of Voir Dire in the Modern Age
When you are sitting for voir dire in Multnomah County you are given a laminated document with eight questions on it. What do you do, level of education, etc. When asked by plaintiff’s counsel what I do for a living, I responded that I am a former attorney who now consults and writes.
I had already prepared my response for the obvious next question (what do you consult upon and write about?) but it never came.
That’s a shame, because I really wanted the chance to say:
My work exposes the dirty underbelly of the Divorce Industrial Complex and the Kingpin players within it, whom I refer to as DICKs. DICKs destroy their clients and their client’s families for love of the almighty dollar. Surely you’ve heard of me? I’m pretty famous, you know.
My consulting work is aimed at bringing people together in their divorce negotiations and educating people about the system and how to work most efficiently within it.
‘What do I write,’ you ask me? I write truth that angers those who hide behind the false cloak of zealous advocacy as they perpetrate a violent emotional and financial fraud upon their victims and the justice system.
Also, sometimes I write about sex, although I do not consult in this area. Do you want to hear my analogy about sex in a marriage as compared to fecal etiquette?
No? OK, sorry. Carry on!
Like I said, he didn’t ask. Defense counsel followed and he also didn’t ask. He was too busy looking for a trace of my father’s appearance in my face, I guess, or trying to conjure up what that damn paper was all about.
From the Dad himself, in case you are interested:
The paper was about the dramatic change in the composition of the Oregon Legislature from approx 1954 (farmers/business people/ attorneys–lots of them) to 1974 (a rag tag assortment of teachers/ public employees/union members and “activists “). If you want to know why the legislature is a cesspool of greed, stupidity and economic retardation, there’s the answer.
Back to hypocrisy: Question #8 on the aforementioned laminated sheet goes something like this:
Can you promise to be impartial and to not make any investigations outside the courtroom?
In other words, do you swear (because remember, you are under oath) not to poke around on the Internet and try to figure out the case based upon anything not introduced as evidence in the courtroom?
Everyone said they could, and one must hope they will. So why are the attorneys allowed to make decisions on jurors based upon Internet research and not simply their responses during voir dire?
As the lawyers huddled over iPads at lunch and peeked into the online activity of the jury pool members, they engaged in the same activity they prohibit from jurors. I know the admonition and pledge does not flow both ways, but 20+ years ago this type of juror investigation during voir dire was essentially impossible.
I don’t like it. Why even have voir dire at all? Why not just give the lawyers the names and let them do their research online?
Disappointed when once again I was turned down for a jury (although I certainly understand why in the first instance!), I trudged back to the jury pen.
My pretty pink dress, selected especially for this day, was beginning to wrinkle. It was obvious I’d spend the rest of my time on jury duty being rejected because of my education, legal background, writing, and devastating smile.
The woman in charge of the potential jurors excused most of us for the rest of the day and I headed up to the urgent care at my doctor’s office to see if they could take a look at my badly-burned hand, which still has not healed.
“Portland Clinic Urgent Care is Temporarily Closed,” said the sign.
Man, I just can’t catch a break.
I have an extra ticket to Hamilton on July 1. Orchestra, Row R, Seat 102. While I am very sad my former seat partner cannot join me, I see this as an opportunity to raise some money for the victims of this weekend’s massacre in Orlando.
If you click on the following link, you can donate directly. I’ve checked it out and I have no reason to believe this is not totally legitimate.
All money raised in excess of the purchase price I paid will go directly to that GoFundMe campaign. I will prove such donation, unlike Trump, by providing documentation of it via this blog.
If for any reason that campaign is deemed phony, the buyer can direct where his or her money will go but it must be to a charity supporting LGBTQ causes with a high rating on charitynavigator.org.
The auction includes dinner and drinks (sharing the costs, sorry!) and being exposed to the Eye of a Hurricane, me, for an entire evening in New York City.
Please share on your social media and with anyone you think is obsessed enough with Hamilton to agree to attend with me. Several hours with yours truly is a high price to pay, and the ticket won’t be cheap, but you’ll be doing something to support the latest victims of our nation’s love affair with guns, blood, hatred, and madness.
To submit a bid, comment below. Remember, this is a show with the original cast, some of whom are moving on soon, including Mr. Miranda himself.
Please do not contact me and ask me to give you this ticket or offer something you know isn’t close to market value.
I’m a lovely and generous person, but I gave at the office and this is to raise money for a good cause.