Thursday, September 11, 2008
My Day in Court
As anxious as I was about going out today, I got myself in gear and headed to the District Court for jury duty. My last experience, less than a year ago was a disappointment. After two days of deliberations one juror refused to listen to reason, so we could not render a verdict the rest of us felt was so genuinely deserved. When I arrived on the 3rd floor, the line into the jury office was about 200 people long. A couple of us speculated that since jury-scofflaws were now being hunted down and fined, more were showing up. A handsome, distinguished man was in line in front of me. All of us were sweating in the over-crowded hallway and jurors' lounge. This gentleman, dressed in a beautifully taylored suit had just a slight dampness showing on his forehead. Behind me were two women about my age, both fanning themselves as I was also. I quietly kvetched about 8 years of hot-flashes and they nodded knowingly. Next thing I knew, this gentleman discretely said his wife was going through it, too and why didn't I sit down; he would save my place in line. I gratefully took his advice. We had brief conversations throughout the hours-long voir dire process and were excused at the same time. Walking back to the jury office, several more people greeted him as had during the morning. I asked him if he worked there and he said he worked across the street. As we walked past a handsome bronze bust of the late Judge Carl Moultrie I mentioned my fondness for him. I was priviledged to have knows him during a previous job. It turned out that Moultrie had been my walking companion's mentor for the 13 years he served in the District Court. By that time, we were making our way outdoors. As I turned to say how much I had enjoyed his company he asked my name. I told him and then he told me his -- Ric Urbina. I stopped in my tracks and stammered that I was honored to meet him and to have almost served on a jury with him. He seemed genuinely surprised that I knew who he was. I was still bug-eyed when he warmly shook my hand and repeated my name as if he really wanted to remember it! The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina is a highly respected U.S. District Court judge and a gracious, gentle man.