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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 (3/15)

July 2, 1996

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So the whole thing, like I said, is an odd combination of extreme tedium + banality superimposed upon a concept (and reality) of great pertinence + vitalness. Finally we were led into chambers, which is where, for me, the boredom ended immediately. There was the chamber: the two rows of four benches, the rail separating observers from the proceedings, the bar: Judge’s bench etc. There were two tables facing, today, the audience (us), at least the chairs around the tables were facing us. When the trial starts they will swing around + face the judge. There was the assistant DA, prosecutor, alone at his table. There were the 2 lawyers defending the defendants at the other table. There were the two defendants: and for them I had to assume, there was little tedium, or if there was, it was thin + dilute across the sensation of supreme + elevated vitalness. They were both black. I had the odd sensation that I had seen them before – perhaps not in person, but on TV, or a movie – perhaps playing this very part!

So we, the potential jurors, became the object of scrutiny; another reason there was no more boredom. I immediately felt acute stage fright instead. Today I will be forced to admit, in front of 70 other potential jurors that I work as a waiter and as a virtually unpublished writer… oh well, good for my humility if nothing else. 

Chambers St. – See ya!

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