Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rant #1,311: Jury Duty

I have been granted jury duty by the State of New York.

My jury duty begins in about three weeks, in mid-to late November. I just got the notice the other day.

I am looking forward to this experience as much as I am looking forward to contracting Ebola.

The last time I had jury duty, nearly three years ago, I almost got fired from my job.

I haven't forgotten that escapade.

This time, I am not in the district court, but the local court, which should make matters better.

And right now I am only a phone juror, although I will bet that I get called to serve anyway.

Let me tell you right out that I have no problem serving at all.

It is my civic duty to do so, and I really believe that if one is called, one should serve.

My problem is with my place of work. They do not take kindly to such civic service.

We are a small place of business, with only a few dozen employees, so the thinking is that if one is out on jury duty, we are missing a major cog, and the company will be held up in whatever it is doing.

They only will pay me for three days of jury duty, and I will be damned if I am going to be using my own sick and personal days--of which we have so few per year--so that I can serve.

So I have to go in there, and if chosen, I have to tell them that I cannot serve because of financial considerations.

I used to be able to go in there and yell "child support," and I would get off the hook immediately, but I can't use that ruse anymore, as my daughter now is 26, and I don't support her anymore.

The last time this happened, in district court, I tried to weasel out of my civic duty, but it really took all of my inner fortitude to do so.

I was chosen for a jury, and I begged to be let off. My place of work was not amused, and the old man who owned the place, who has now passed on, actually threatened to fire me.

Which, of course, is against the law, and he was told so by others in the company.

It is not as easy to get off jury duty as it used to be, and through my own maneuverings with that court, I was finally able to get off after three days of serving.

It wasn't pretty, and I do not want to go through that episode again if I can help it.

So I am simply hoping that I am not needed, and that I am excused over the phone.

If not, I will have to go there, plead a financial hardship, and try to get off of jury duty.

It will not be easy, and it goes against every moral grain in my body to do so, but as you can see, I really do not have a choice.

I want to serve, but I cannot.

Simple as that.

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