Thursday, August 02, 2007

Courthouse Research

Next week, I have jury duty. Not at a little branch court like I've done before. This one will be in big ol' downtown Austin at the giant courthouse where you have to go through the metal detectors to get inside.

Major drawback of being downtown: no parking. Seriously. The courthouse doesn't have a garage. I can't park at a meter since I doubt they'll break every two hours for me to run feed the coin eating monster. Their suggestion? Ride the Dillo. Ride the Dillo? It only runs downtown, so I'd still have to find someplace to park. And have you ever tried to figure out the teeny map of the different Dillo lines they have posted online? Luckily, I have a sister who works for a major law firm downtown and she was able to find someone who knew the inner workings of the Dillo routes.

On the plus side: The chance to sit in on a "big" case, although I really don't want to be on a murder jury. I sometimes go down to the courthouse (two hour stretches so I won't get a parking ticket) just to observe. But sitting on a case would be different.

So, I have mixed feelings. I don't want to be on a jury for a big trial or one that will make me cry (I admit, I'm a crier). But what great research it would be. Sitting out in the audience is okay. You get the flavor of a court room, you see how the people in the audience who are waiting to be called up behave and dress, you see how the attorneys act and how they interact with the judge and clerks.

But being on a jury, you'd see a bit more of what goes on behind the scenes. Maybe even see what a deliberation room looks like.

But if I'm late because I'm circling downtown Austin in a Dillo bus, will I get an excused absence or issued an arrest warrant?

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