…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

but she's my therapist!

For the second week running I've missed therapy because my psychologist is on jury duty. "Don't worry," she said when she told me several weeks ago that she had been summoned. "I never get impaneled."

"On the off chance you are, how long does Kaiser allow for jury leave?" I asked, an undoubtedly feral look in my eyes as I contemplated the idea of her being sequestered on a murder trial, unavailable to me even by telephone for months.

"Ten days," she said. "But it won't come to that. My experience with substance abusers and trauma victims scares off most attorneys, and the rest excuse me because I used to serve as an expert witness."

My first therapy-free week was cake. I was still flying high on my four-month psychiatric furlough. This week has been more difficult, though, and I didn't receive the chilling cancellation call from Kaiser until late Tuesday afternoon, so I was already several days into mental rehearsals for this week's session, scheduled as usual for a 9 a.m. Wednesday curtain.

The good people of the Los Angeles County Superior Court used to be much more profligate in excusing jurors from service. If you taught school or were an attorney or were self-employed, you got a pass. If your employer didn’t pay for jury service, you were off the hook. Most important, if you could demonstrate that no one but you could do your job—i.e. you’re a therapist with clients who rely on you to keep them sane—you were sent on your merry way. Angelenos who haven't been called to duty in the last few years laugh off jury summonses. "Tell them your dog's in surgery that day," they'll say, or "Just write 'deceased' on the summons and send it back; they never follow up."

Those of us who have been called since the "one-day/one-trial" system was implemented know that WE had better be in surgery that day, or that it would behoove us to be deceased should the jury police come knocking. Nobody eludes their civil responsibility anymore, not in this here County of Los Angeles.

Still, I can't help thinking that therapists should be excused in toto. No one wants to encourage criminality where it once lay fallow, least of all our county court system, and I can't promise model behavior in my therapist's absence. That's not a threat, just full disclosure.


Blogger sporksforall said...

I'm such a goober that I always WANT to get put on juries. Still, try to keep from non-model behavior when it come to your Honey. Think work, friends, random strangers.

4:51 PM  
Blogger bryduck said...

Jury service sounds fun and all, but the last two times I got thisclose to serving, and I began to think about how much responsibility it actually is. I mean, you're deciding somebody else's fate for the rest of their lives (if it's a criminal case). Ick.

6:36 PM  
Blogger scout said...

I've served only as a "backup juror #2" and decided absolutely no one's fate after spending 11 days hearing a trial. Backup jurors don't even get to sit in on deliberations; once closing arguments have been entered, we're sent to the jury room—to idly flip through magazines and put together the puzzles that are invariably missing five or more pieces—while the real jurors pontificate.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous ani said...

Gee, I've served on a jury both times I was called to jury duty. (Not counting the time I got a deferral because my job couldn't spare me and then got excused because I'd moved out of state.)

The question is what do they make you do while you are waiting to find out if you will serve? The first time I had to show up and sit around in the jury room all day until called. It was a relief to finally get impaneled, better than sitting around for the entire 10 days doing nothing.

The next time I served (in a different state) I think you had to show up at the beginning of the day and they would tell you if they wanted you that day. Or maybe it was like that only the first day and then you could telephone in, but I think I was impaneled on the first day.

2:00 AM  

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