Justice is Blind, Deaf and Ninety-one

More notes from the Elder Care Underground:

My mother got another jury duty summons in the mail today. 

Back around the end of December, she got her first summons since moving here from California about eleven years ago.  As you know, she’s 91 years-old.  

They don’t give you a lot of time to respond to the summons; just a few days for you to fill out the form for exemption or disqualification and get it back to them before the jury trial’s court date. 

As you can imagine, when my mother got her first summons, it threw her into a tizzy.  She (and my Dad) were always fearful of any kind of governmental authority.  They were honest to a fault.  My Dad even enlisted in the Coast Guard when WWII broke out although he could have sat out the war by getting a job at a defense plant that was hiring nearby.  He didn’t think he could live with himself if he didn’t “do his part” for the war effort by serving in one of the military branches.

So, with the first summons, I filled out the form and checked the box that said she was exempt from duty because she was over 70.  I figured that was that. 

They’d see that she was over-the-hill (legalistically speaking) and they would take her off the list of potential jurors.

Wrong.

When she got her second summons, I was annoyed.  What part of over 70 don’t they understand?  She’s not any younger than she was four months ago, and yet they want her to fill out the same form to qualify for exemption.

This time, I wrote a letter to the Justice of the Peace who’s in charge of rounding up jurors and put it in the envelope with the juror questionnaire. 

I asked him if he would please remove my mother from the pool of potential jurors.  I said she was 91 years-old, essentially blind in one eye, deaf and often confused.  I closed by saying I seriously doubted that she was juror material.

But, hey—maybe she’s some defense attorney’s idea of the perfect juror. 

By the end of the trial, she wouldn’t remember any of the negative testimony against his client.

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21 thoughts on “Justice is Blind, Deaf and Ninety-one

    • Yes, I thought about just chucking the summons but my mother would freak out if she got any kind of threatening letter or phone call from them.

      She may not remember to take her pills or wear her LifeStation alert pendant, but THIS she would remember! 🙂

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  1. i say let her serve! keeps her busy, gives her something to talk about other than what she had to eat, and – in fact – would teach the damn jury summonsing people to listen when someone says “I’m 91, damn it!”

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    • Ha! Only problem is, I’d have to schlep her there and back and be her interpreter—“Wha’d he say?” But, yeah, it might make them pay more attention to the jury questionnaire answers in the future. 🙂

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  2. I like the “Wha’d he say?” part. My mother would love to be on a jury again. But she makes snarky comments in a loud voice which might not go over well with a judge. Might make a good script for a sitcom, though.

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    • Sitcom is right! Have you seen Betty White in “Hot in Cleveland?” She was on trial for being in posession of stolen goods (her deceased husband left them to her) and she wore a bathrobe and slippers to court to make the judge think she was incompetent. Then she met Juror #8 (an ancient, bald-headed man) in the janitor’s closet to sway his opinion. After she left him, she said “Justice has been serviced.” However, he didn’t remember it and voted guilty.

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  3. My mom has a good stage whisper as well…it can be fun at times and killer bad at other times. All in all she’s great but I know that I am wandering into the swamp of the future. We’ll have fun, I hope, on the trip to nowhere though!

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    • My mother’s “stage whisper” can be more like a shout out sometimes. When I was at the doctor’s with her, he came out with some Asian gentlemen in suits (visiting physicians, maybe?) and my mother said “Are those guys Chinese?” pretty loudly. It’s times like that when you want slide down in your chair and become invisible.

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  4. I think it would be interesting for her to sit in the Jury Pool. Perhaps then they would get the message. When asked, “Why are you here?” maybe she could reply, “I told them that I was too old but they just keep sending me a summons!”

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  5. Hmmm. Will they ask you to serve in her place?

    KIDDING!!!

    If she receives another summons, take her and stick one of Michael Moore’s books in her lap. (Keith Olbermann’s would work, too.) She might be called, but she would not serve!

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  6. I wonder what kind of crimes call for little old lady jurors. I’d love to see the profiling that’s done, wouldn’t you?

    Widowed white female born before 1940: likely to hang the jury in drug cases, blame the victim in rape cases, and favor the death penalty in murder cases. Makes up her mind the minute she sets eyes on the accused. Absolutely refuses to let the evidence or peer pressure sway her. Prone to yelling, ” Bullsh*t!,” when the accused’s girlfriend testifies, especially if girlfriend has implants.

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    • “Makes up her mind the minute she sets eyes on the accused. Absolutely refuses to let the evidence or peer pressure sway her. Prone to yelling, ” Bullsh*t!,” when the accused’s girlfriend testifies, especially if girlfriend has implants.”

      LOL! That’s the way my mother is about her neighbors. (And pretty much anything else….)

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  7. My not-so-civic-minded mother consistently threw every summons away until they threatened severe law enforcement- sending the cops to take her to court to explain in person to the judge why she never sent back a form. So she finally sent one back and of course, got called for duty. Did she serve? No. she found a friend who knew someone who knew someone and got her off. Of course, she never minded passing judgement on me.

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    • Wow! Your mother had chutzpah, didn’t she? She reminds me of the greeting card I saw that had a photo of a rather grim looking woman on it. On the inside it said “I’m just here to observe and pass judgment.”

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  9. Fantastic images in my head of your 91 year old mother, star of the courtroom, running her own version of 12 angry elders. You can add that to her memoirs, or your own, if you like. 🙂

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    • My mother is The World’s Foremost Authority on Everything, so she’d probably be telling the judge what he’s doing wrong. “Pull your robe down in back! Sit up straight!”

      Thanks for stopping by, Jess! Y’all come back!

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