October 17, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Jury Duty

A year after my flirtation with law school, I finally got my day in court. Yesterday, I answered a summons for jury duty and, for the first time, was impaneled on a trial. Though I can't talk about the specifics of the case here, as the matter is still pending, I must say it has so far been quite appealing to the writer in me. Much of the jury instruction, witness testimony and attorney examination has had elements of tedium, but at its core the case is essentially a story whose ending we 12 jurors get to write. There is drama, there is conflict, there's a surfeit of plot, and of course there is a cast of characters. The direct and cross examination of witnesses, in its own way, is pure storytelling. And since the whole affair boils down to one man's fate, it's a very human story.

Though I can't make a judgment on the efficiency of our legal system based on my experience serving on the jury of just one court case, I do have a greater measure of confidence after watching the judge and attorneys in action. They have done their job with the utmost professionalism, and it's quite fascinating to behold. If I ended up in court for whatever reason, I feel like I'd get a fair chance at winning my case.

I had no intention of becoming a trial lawyer, even while I was a law student. Though I have enjoyed watching, participating as an observer, I would certainly not want to stand up there in the spotlight, performing for the judge and jury. The esoteric, analytical aspects of the law stimulate me intellectually, as they did during my semester of law school. However, I find it telling that I've watched this trial with the eyes of a writer, seeing story, plot, conflict, drama and characters. It has confirmed the wisdom of my decision to abandon the pursuit of a legal profession in favor of what my true calling has always been: to write.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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