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Opening Arguments

Civic duty

Aww, did you miss me yesterday? I apologize for my absence, but it was necessary. I was in seclusion downtown, rediscovering the joys of euchre.

They have another name for it, of course -- jury duty. I was in the pool of 150 prospective jurors in the David Bisard case. Having filled out my 16-page questionnaire -- wanting to know everything from my opinion of police procedures to my favorite three movies -- I was among the first 50 summoned to show up yesterday and submit to questioning by the judge, prosecutor and defense lawyers.

I was looking forward to being rejected, which some regard as a badge of honor. "Yeah, they would never pick me; I know too much, and they usually want uninformed doofuses." Not only am I a journalist who tries to follow the news closely, I visit my sister in Indy frequently, and the Bisard case is on the news there all the time. I probably know more about the case than most people in Fort Wayne.

Alas, it was not to be. I wasn't rejected, just, sniff, sniff, dismissed. They herded the jurors into the courtroom to be questioned  in groups of six, and I was in one of the last groups. By the time 5:30 rolled around, 10 jurors had already been chosen, so they told the 18 or so of us who hadn't been questioned yet we could go home and forget about jury duty for two years. Another group of 50 will be there today so that the remaining two jurors and four alternatives can be chosen.

The day wasn't a waste. I got some reading done and met some interesting people, including a very pretty nursing student who was obviously smart, spending some of the waiting time reading a complex-looking text on nursing for infants and mothers, but who chooses not to vote. "I'm not informed on any of the issues"' she said, "so I don't think it's fair that I vote." See, smart.

And played euchre, which I was really hooked on for a while but stopped playing a few years ago. My partner I and I kicked butt, too, at least until two of the players were called into the courtroom, which broke the game up. Damned civic duty.