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In July of 1996, Jay Levine sat on the jury of a small criminal case in New York City. It involved two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigated the crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecuted the offenders. These are their stories. DUN DUN!

Jury Duty i (2/15)

July 1, 1996

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The whole process reeks of both banality (in the extreme) and precious pertinence. The legal system in our hands; our one opportunity (besides voting), to participate. But that participation consists of mostly waiting: listening to chatter + banter that people employ to pass the time. And there’s the simultaneous suspicion of fraud: not outright but in a larger, pervasive sense: A system out of whack and intrinsically flawed. The video was largely propaganda designed to bolster our rapidly sagging resolve. Several times the woman beside me snorted w/full derision as though to assert: bullshit! Everyone cynical, bored, but resolved to carry through because they are trapped into doing so.

That’s about it so far. I have been called to room 1023 where we all (say 50) of us sat and idled away a solid 1.5 hours waiting for the selection to begin. It never did. We return at 2:15 for the continuation.

Lots of cellphone action. All around me… ringing, beeping. Even the guy directly to my left, unpacking his and perusing the instruction manual: a neophyte to the technology – embracing it now, no doubt, because he must spend some indeterminate period isolated + severed from the day to day workings of his world…


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