I read with interest the story about U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recently showing up for jury duty in the Rockville, Maryland courthouse. He took his place in the body of the court like the other dozens of prospective jurors on the jury panel, but was not selected. Unlike jurists in Canada, it seems lawyers and even judges are fair game for jury duty.
This got me thinking. What would happen if a judge's number were to come up in his own court? And what if the judge would be someone like The Mikado’s Pooh Bah, and decide to wear two hats, of judge and juror?
Would he have had two daily diaries during the course of the following criminal trial?
Juror - I was very excited this morning as I entered the courtroom together with the other jury panel members. The atmosphere was awesome. Rumours abounded that the presiding judge would be “the Hangman".
Judge - Another Monday. Another arson case. I was a bit late getting to court today as a cop stopped me for speeding.
I noticed a nervous but intelligent looking guy on the jury panel. I hope he gets picked.
Juror - Yep, we've got “the Hangman”. He was late to court yesterday. He told the jury it was some official business with the police.
I got selected. Both lawyers Ok’ed me after about two minutes of legal mumbo jumbo.
Judge - That intellectual looking panellist did get picked. He looks sharp. I noticed him obviously enthralled by counsels' opening statements.
Juror - Both lawyers are windbags. They just went on and on telling us that it is up to us whom we believe. What do they take us for, morons? The judge however seems fascinated by their ramblings. Not even once did he tell them to pipe down. I hope the good stuff starts tomorrow.
Judge - Counsels' enlightening statements are over. The jury appeared fascinated.
Juror - It was a great day in court today. Pity however that we couldn't be there to watch the show. That dumb judge ordered us out of the courtroom just as the arresting police officer was about to get to the juicy stuff. The lawyers rattled off some fancy foreign phrase and out we went.
Judge - Today we had the voire dire. I found that the inculpatory statement the accused made to the police was voluntary and therefore admissible. I believed the police officer where his evidence conflicted with that of the accused.
I always wondered what the jurors do outside the courtroom when they're excluded for hours at a time.
Juror - Well we were back in court today like a jury should be. It gets boring out there playing Candy Crush.
The arresting cop testified. He said the accused readily told him after the arrest that he often carried a jerry can of gasoline around as "you never know when it could come in handy." Somehow this felt like a déjà vu.
The accused later testified that the officer, threatened him to "fess up". I noticed that the office weighs about 400 pounds and looks like a poster boy for Krispy Kreme Donuts. I believe the accused.
Judge - Another day of exciting testimony. Both counsel snapped at one another objecting to the questions. I had to ask them to approach the bench a number of times. The jury is probably puzzled by all this manoeuvring.
Juror - These lawyers are off the wall. And what do they talk about when the judge asks them to approach the bench, the Stanley Cup?
Judge - The lawyers made their closing statements. Before my jury charge I asked the lawyers to approach the bench. Defence counsel, like me, are both Anaheim Ducks fans.
Juror - There's no doubt in my mind the judge is trying to make the Guinness Book of Records for talkathons.
Judge - I completed my charge. I expect the jury to be out for days on this one.
Juror - We found the guy not guilty after deliberating about fifteen minutes. The judge seemed pleased with our decision.
Judge - Would you believe it; those twelve imbeciles acquitted the arsonist. Whatever is it they do back at that jury room? Play Candy Crush? I need a break.
It will probably not happen but if the judge's number does come up and he gets onto the jury panel, I'd trade my Toronto Maple Leafs tickets to catch that trial.
I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit my website, www.striglaw.com. No, I am not also a judge.