And Justice for All

In a city the size of Chicago, it’s easy to feel like just another face in the crowd. A stranger on the street. A mere cog in the mighty machine that is urban progress. But every once in a while, a city the size of Chicago singles out someone like me to let me know exactly how critical I am to its continued success.
This past week, Chicago let me know that it needs me. It told me that I am important, that I am desired, that I am necessary. It told me everything I’ve ever wanted to hear from a city. I don’t think I can put it any better than Chicago did, so let me just share with you a little excerpt from the letter I received Thursday:
“By order of the circuit court of Cook County, Illinois, you are hereby summoned to appear for jury service on the date and time at the court indicated below.”
That’s right. In a matter of weeks, someone’s fate could rest in my hands. I could decide guilt or innocence. Lives may be forever changed depending on my loose interpretation of the law. I might even wear my hair in a bun, I can’t be sure.
God, please let me get picked! But, I just hope that my legal background doesn’t preclude me from serving on the jury. I may need to downplay some of my experience so I don’t get eliminated right off the bat. I mean, I highly doubt they’ll find another juror who has seen:

  1. The entire series run of L.A. Law. They thought Susan Dey would never make a comeback. Fools.
  2. Most of the Law & Order seasons. “In the criminal justice system, there are…” I could probably quote that whole opening sequence verbatim, if you gave me a few minutes. I mostly like SVU – Mariska Hargitay is one bad mamma-jamma.
  3. Several reruns of The Practice. I wish that one woman would take out some earrings. How am I supposed to take her seriously looking like a hippie?
  4. The Firm. I didn’t trust anyone at work for days after seeing that movie.
  5. That one episode of The Brady Bunch where Carol gets sued for giving a guy whiplash, but Mike saves the day by throwing down his briefcase in the courtroom. Oh, what’s that Mr. Neckbrace Plaintiff? Seems like your neck worked just fine when you wanted to hear where that noise was coming from! Case dismissed! And don’t think I won’t be using that technique in court if I get selected!

As I examined the summons a bit more closely, I noticed that I was scheduled for court in Rolling Meadows, IL.
Rolling Meadows.
I don’t believe I’ve ever been there, but it sounds just lovely. And based on the name, I imagine my case will have something to do with a stolen sheep, or perhaps a dispute between a Hobbit who wanted to marry a Halfling.
This is going to be so awesome! Law & Order: Rolling Meadows. The case of Danny McLeprechaun vs. Paddy O’Dougall, land dispute:
Rolling Meadows ‘twas a quiet little village, unbesmirched by the crime and corruption of its neighboring Chicago. That is, until the dark day when Paddy O’Dougall’s greed changed all that. Forever.
If it be pleasing the court, yer honor, might I introduce Exhibit A, which be a picture of a rainbow, the end of which clearly be lying on me property, and not on one Mr. Paddy O’Dougall’s. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as sure as me shillelagh be true, Mr. O’Dougall had no right whatsoever to be digging for that pot o’ gold without me consent. And I ask ya to throw the ever-loving book at him. I rest me case.
What say you, Foreperson?
Ms. Amadeo, this is Rolling Meadows, not Salem. We don’t burn people here anymore. Your options are stocks or scarlet letter.
Oh, well, then… stocks. Lock him up in stocks! Let all the good townsfolk come see what he has done! And pull his pants down! Let him never again look upon these rolling meadows but through the cloud of shame that his criminal deed has wrought!

I’m so serious – I will be getting jury gigs all over town after this one. I’ll walk into that courtroom and jaws will drop. Defendants will start to plea bargain their asses off once they find out I’m on the jury. Oprah wishes she could have served side by side with me. I’ll be all Clarence Frickin’ Darrow. If he had been a juror.
I’m out of order? You’re out of order! This whole damn court is out of order! What’s that? Isn’t this room 8B? Oh, sorry. Wrong trial.
Jenny Amadeo, Juror #5. I like the sound of that.

10 Responses to “And Justice for All”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    Rolling Meadows is a lovely suburb, but according to the most recent U.S. census figures, only 15% of its residents are Irish. Isn’t civic duty fun though?

  2. Robert Says:

    What if the defendant is OrangeHat?

  3. shari Says:

    The devil, ye say? And I’ll bet they’ll provide you a really yummy sandwich too, on stale, white bread if you deliberate through the lunch hour…further proof of Chicago’s undying love. ;)

  4. kris Says:

    And Rolling Meadows is just a heartbeat away from IKEA. Spend that compensation check on your way home!

  5. Jenny Says:

    V: I didn’t know that – so then what % of the population is Elf?

    R: I thought I asked you to never again speak his name in my presence. Now I miss him. I miss him bad.

    S, K: Wait a minute! Are you two telling me that not only do they feed me, but they pay me for this, too? God, I love this country!

  6. Omar Says:

    I myself like Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Vincent D’Onofrio is like Columbo, only every so often I get a flash from him of “Edgar” from Men In Black. Disturbing…

    My wife’s 25% Irish, 10% more than Rolling Meadows, and I refer to her as Paddy O’Wife on my blog. I didn’t realize there was a template for Irish names. :)

    Last I heard, the O’Wifes had settled their feud with the O’Dougalls. The O’Dougalls, ever the angry bunch, are now picking on the McLeprechauns. Next on the feudin’ list: The Charms, especially that smug celebrity boy of theirs, Lucky.

  7. jill Says:

    Um. Jenny? Can I have your autograph? Because after you become a big, famous juror, you might not remember me. And then one day in the future, when I’m standing (accused) before your jury box, I’ll have something in hand to remind you of the salad days. Then you’ll get weepy-eyed and remember your roots and acquit me out of sheer gratitude. Thanks!

  8. Strode Says:

    You go do your civic duty, SuperJuror! *Looks on, in starry-eyed admiration*

  9. FiorelloLaGuardia Says:

    The stocks or the scarlet letter? Pffft- those punishments are waaaaay too moderate. I say…how about tying the guilty one to the grist mill a la the biblical Samson? Now people from that era really, really knew about punishment….(just kidding Jenny, honest….seriously…)

  10. TCho Says:

    Your first sentence reminds me of the time when I saw David Letterman call some random pay phone here in NY and the guy answered “Hello? This is New York.” It was so funny. Like the mayor had just told this guy to answer for the entire city.
    I had jury duty last year and actually loved it. I was picked for a 5 day trial and the whole process was really interesting to participate in particularly when we deliberated. Our lawyers had done a good job of getting a really diverse group, and if I had made more of an effort, I probably would have even gotten to be friends with some of them. Anyway, I know it’s a strange thing to say, but I really enjoyed it. Then again, my company was still paying my salary and I got to leave jury duty everyday at 3PM.