Thursday, April 23, 2009

Of juries and painters and other things...

So... ah, nothing of great importance to relate.

Painter has been out and started on pressure-washing the exterior. He also did the front walk - looks BRAND NEW - and started on the back patio. He wants to seal the concrete on the patio so that it will STAY lookin' good, at least for a while. Although I have been on the back burner when his personal conflicts arise, he has been so good to me in doing extra things, for NO extra money. L has been a great painter, and more importantly, a very good friend. He works in the maintenance dept of a very large cancer center here, and there is to be a 10% reduction in the work force soon. He said that if that does happen, he will just go into business full-time for himself.

I will again try to make some progress in the Great House Pick Up / Throw Out Campaign. Will be taking next week off and am determined to have this house ready for the realtor (and thus, the contract!) if everyone shows up and everything gets accomplished in that week. So y'all pray for me - I need prayers that tell me to "Focus, girl, focus!" The end of the tunnel has a light that is calling me, and I want to get OUT of the tunnel!

Also, I am tentatively scheduled for jury duty next week. This county is much smaller than Harris County (where the city of Houston is), so less crime means that you can call the night before your scheduled jury duty and see if you will need to even show up. Greg got a "by" on his first (and only) jury summons here. Not me. I not only had to show up - I got selected for a criminal case. Not nice to hear the evidence, either - grandfather charged in the molestation of his own granddaughter.

I have never shirked my jury summons, when one arrives. Until 10 years ago, we resided in Harris County and both had to show up for those "cattle calls" where you fill up a large Jury Assembly Room (yes, a large, movie-theatre sized room where you plop down and wait to see if your number is called). I think I actually served on at least two juries during that time (and was the Foreman or Foreperson on one). True story: I had a red suit that I was wearing that day, and a gay guy on that same jury PUSHED me to be chosen as the Fore-whatever. It was the suit that did it, I know it! I also served a 3-month term on a grand jury. The way that system works in Texas, is that a district attorney or assistant district attorney can present evidence to a grand jury, to see if that evidence warrants the pursuit of charges against that person. So, in a way, it is the way that law enforcement makes the citizens carry part of the burden in the criminal justice system.

As rookies in the grand jury process, we slowly made our way through that first day. Now understand, Harris County is a BIG urban area and has countless crimes committed daily. So in the 3-month term that I sat on a grand jury, there were a total of FIVE grand juries "sitting", simultaneously. For example - one group might meet on a Monday and Wednesday, another on Monday and Thursday, another on Tuesday and Thursday, and so on. So on each day of the week, there were always 2 juries working.

Once we "warmed up" to the process, we went through about 70 cases a day. I am not exaggerating, folks - 70. Really, in most cases it was cut and dried: the ADA (asst. district att'y) would basically trot out the evidence and we would return (usually) the "true bill" - evidence was enough for charges to be brought, or "no true bill". Very, very rarely did we NOT agree and vote "true bill". I remember one time when we did NOT vote that way - and from then on, we were not the Chosen Ones. At least that is the conclusion that we came to. On two occasions, we had an entire day devoted to Sex Crimes against Children. Oh - these were so tough to go through, and believe me, we did NOT listen to 70 cases on those days. And let me tell y'all this: these crimes were committed by people who KNEW these children - no stranger-rape or anything like that. Step-parents, grandparents, mommy's boyfriend, father of the child's friend, and so on.

I think the fact that I served on a grand jury, gets me right up there on the Chosen list when jury members are selected during the voir dire. You know: where they ask you questions such as has any family member been in an auto accident, or has any family member had to sue for damages, etc. I think I could stand up and scream, "Hang the bastard!" in a traffic court case, and I would still be selected. I'm just sayin', is all.

I gave my notice at work - did I already mention that? - for my retirement. My last day to have to show up here, is June 25th, and I will get paychecks until close to the end of November. So if the house does not sell right away, I can still make the mortgage payments and so on, without eating up all my retirement income. Whew!

So, like I said, not much happenin'. My bladder says it needs to visit the loo, so I'll close (QUICKLY!). 'Bye.


Anonymous said...

It sure sounds like you have a LOT going on to me. I'm getting tired just reading about it all. You must be a whirlwind aka Nancy Drew!

Anonymous said...

To find some more
Painters here

The Retired One said... are streaming along. Congrats. on filing your retirement papers. It is a big step and a great one. I can't believe it will be a year for me already on June 6th!
The Retirement Chronicles

Ramblin Mama said...

My hubby also served on a grand jury (4 months here) and agreed the hardest cases were the ones where family members were charged with crimes against children. I'm lucky, having worked in the local legal community for many years, I've only been called for the one day/one trial type jury pool and, since I am acquainted with most of the attorneys, have been excused at voir dire time.