A Week Of Death And Color

I know, I know… I’ve been negligent this week. The truth is, life has been a bit crazed. I was called in for jury duty. As I’m a firm believer in the legal system, I didn’t cry overly much. This has been the second time in 3 or so years that my number has been selected. When I called the night before, I truly was hoping that they wouldn’t need me. No such luck. Numbers 1-500+ were expected to report. If you count all the people that submit for excuses prior (or have not regained their legal rights, are not citizens, etc,) you’ll realize that there were probably about 200 people that were actually there that day.

I’m not exactly a legal genius, but the law has always fascinated me, so whenever the opportunity presented itself in high school and college, I took things like Business Law, Discussion and Debate, etc. I’m sure there are some of you reading this that are not at all surprised by this revelation. Why am I telling you this? Because, when you get called for jury duty and you really don’t want to be there for more than a day you cross your fingers and hope that whatever case you land does not say “State v.” whatever the defendant’s name is. That usually means you’ve been selected for some sort of criminal trial.

The first time I was called in to jury duty there was only one case being tried. It was a civil case. A young girl versus an auto insurance company who was trying not to pay damages. 5 lawyers against one 23 year old girl and her attorney. Yes, I got kicked off the case based on my revelation of how my brother had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. Well, not just because he was hit and killed, but because my mother sued…and when I saw all those lawyers and they asked if anyone had any objections to so many attorneys on one side I raised my hand. I told them it felt too much like bullying and that when my mom was going through our situation I hoped she didn’t have to deal with such a situation.  🙂

This time I actually got a criminal trial….and not just any criminal trial. This time was murder. As if that isn’t exciting enough, this was one where the prosecution was seeking the death penalty. My day one was spent with the judge asking us questions, being interviewed as a whole, one-on-one and in small groups. We found out that this was actually day 3 of jury selection. So they’d had 2 other days where they’d narrowed down the count from 200+ to whatever. Yes, I actually made it to day 2, the day they planned to finalize their decisions. I expected to see a bunch of people. It was a huge surprise to find only 69 of us made the cut.

It’s strange, the things that come back to you. I remembered that back in high school I actually debated the Death Penalty in class. My partner and I were on the pro side. A lot of our research back then centered on Florida (which was not the state I was living in at the time). Oddly enough, I think it was that research that allowed me to better understand the questions the judge asked, as well as enabling me to clearly articulate my point-of-view.

Have you ever considered how important a criminal defense attorney’s body language can be? In those two days, I noticed it. As writers, we tend to be people watchers and analyzers by nature. On day two, when the defense attorney was able to do her voir dire (questions to the jury), I watched as she stood and spoke. She was definitely very conscious of how important facial expressions are. In fact, like actors on stage are told to slightly exaggerate their expressions to ensure all audience members see and understand, she did similar things. Her nods were more pronounced. Things like sympathy, understanding were almost exaggerated, and her verbal cues were definitely clear. Always, if something like having been victimized by crime was being asked…it was followed up with “Is — okay now?” and “I’m so sorry that happened to you!” And when asking if someone felt that such incidents could predispose them to a bias toward her client, she didn’t hesitate to stand behind him in both a figurative and visual show of support. She would place her hands on his shoulders as if silently sending us the message “My client is harmless. See? I’m not afraid to touch him. I support and believe in him wholeheartedly.”

What things have made impacts on you and made you think? Have you ever been called in for jury duty? Was it exciting? Were you actually selected for the case?

As a little side note. Today was my first ever 5K run. I survived! Here’s a before and after picture of us.

My first 5K was a color run!

My first 5K was a color run!

Long Weeks, Obstacles And Overcoming

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Yay! Hubby and friends completed the course. This is them, wet and sweaty and done. The redhead in the middle is one of my best friends. She is afraid of water…won’t even get into my pool. But she overcame her fear today and jumped the fifteen foot drop into a water obstacle and swam her way out, instead of going around it. Hubby was the guy who ran ahead, scouted the obstacles, then ran back to report them to the team. He probably was best conditioned for the job. Apparently what they say about Tough Mudder being addictive is absolutely true because the gang is already talking about getting better conditioned for next year so they won’t hold hubby back, LOL!

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As for me…this is part of what I’ve been doing in El Paso. I have been entering inventory, helping set up the store and train the employees. There have been a few frustrating moments… Like when an employee unplugged the printer from the USB port on the computer, then got frustrated thinking it didn’t work…he didn’t know what he’d unplugged. Or when I told an employee we were short a Cat 5 cable to hook the video cameras up to the Internet for the owner to view the store remotely…only to find after nearly 24 man hours spent on the phone with set up and tech support that the reason we couldn’t connect was because a regular phone cable had been used and plugged in. To say my patience had been tried would be a mild understatement. And we’ve been slow because people didn’t know we were open.

The last couple of days, though, we’ve started to pick up speed. Today, Fan Connection El Paso had our first solid sales day. We even had our first crowd! Finally…Success!

So tonight, I’m relaxing at the bar at my hotel… I’m enjoying a cocktail, some good food and the double sided fireplace… And got to say thank you to Bill, a gentleman serving in the Army from my home state of Illinois. I pray for our troops daily…and thank them for doing what most of us can’t or won’t do.

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I’m feeling happy, comfortable & accomplished. Now it’s time to write… What things made your day today? Or maybe it was something this week…. Did you run into any challenges? How did you handle them? What are your big plans for the evening or weekend?