Anyone who believes that lawyers never serve on juries is wrong. I’m a lawyer, and I’ve been selected* twice. My first time on a jury, six years ago, was for a federal criminal case. This time, earlier this week, I served on a jury for a civil case in state court. Thankfully, the trial lasted only two days, but even that short amount of time without access to a phone or Internet during the day felt more like two weeks.
I have no idea what the headlines were on those two days, but the buzz in the courthouse was about an event that happened in that building shortly before I was empaneled: Bill Cosby’s conviction on three counts of aggravated indecent assault related to an incident that occurred in 2004. There was some disagreement among my fellow potential jurors about whether justice prevailed in Cosby’s case, but everyone was relieved to have missed being among the jury pool during the three days it took to select that jury. We could’ve been.
Bill Cosby has a close connection to my hometown. The house where the 2004 crime took place is down the street from my middle school. Cosby attended and served on the board of Temple University, where my Dad works and where almost every member of my family went for college and/or their graduate degrees. Last week, Temple rescinded the honorary doctorate it awarded to Cosby in the early 1990s.
This week, nearly two hundred miles away, my alma mater revoked the honorary doctorate it awarded to Cosby on Commencement Day in 2003. Ruth Bader Ginsburg received an honorary doctorate that day too, and Mr. AMB and I received our bachelor’s degrees. It was a very soggy day, an experience that informed the graduation that took place in my first novel, Two Lovely Berries (New Adult), which features the strained relationship between a set of identical twins, Aubrey and Nora Daley:
I haven’t been writing, reading, blogging, tweeting, or gardening much lately. Instead, I’ve been focusing on my family, working excessively, and addressing everything that piled up while I was on jury duty. I plan on catching up with everything and everyone soon.
Have a great weekend.
* “Selected” isn’t the right word. I wasn’t eliminated by strikes as a result of my answers to the questions the lawyers asked during voir dire. People ask me why I don’t try to get out of jury duty. Apart from the fact that it would be perjury to lie during voir dire to get out of service, why would I want to get out of it? It’s an inconvenience, but it’s also an important part of our justice system and an interesting experience.
**I discussed the Cosby case on this blog in Would You Want a Kids’ Book Endorsed by Bill Cosby?. As I wrote then, “It won’t be easy for Cosby’s defense to get around the fact that he’s admitted under oath that he gave women illegal sedatives in order to have sex with them.”