Song of the Day: I have to go to court Monday

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Spicy headline, right? Wrong.

I did nothing wrong -- well, no charges have been filed -- but I have to report to the Franklin County Courthouse Monday morning at 8 a.m. for jury duty. At least two weeks of caring about crimes I didn't commit. It could be more. These people spent about four years sitting in a small bleacher with their peers.

So, yes, this timeless gem by Bobby Fuller Four, covered famously and in different fashions by The Clash and Dead Kennedys. It's appropriate. I tried to get out of this service. I called friends at the prosecutor's office. I drafted long excuses. I tried to un-register to vote. (Yes, first-time electors, they now know where you live.) I thought about starting my own business, one way to avoid service.

None were going to work. I'd pay a fine, but contempt of court actually is a felony. The law won. I've got a long list of wild things to say to be dismissed -- asking about capital punishment for a misdemeanor -- but they don't send you home. If you're dismissed from a specific jury, they send you back to a small waiting room, which is worse. There are plenty of other trials pending.

So, for business hours during the next two weeks, I'll be working the only government job that pays $3 an hour without benefits. They don't even pay for parking. A short pamphlet that comes a week before start date insists your service is a crucial part of the legal system and (it gets lofty) the United States. It's just not important enough to validate.