The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.
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06/22/09
Jury Duty II
Filed under: General, Politics, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 8:06 pm

laptop printing

First off, I want to report the success of setting up the new Laptop Printing Service. Unlike the old service with its remote server, the LPS server is local and on-campus. In fact it is so local that you must log on to use it, and you can’t do that unless you have a University account. Only one public printer uses it right now, but if it works as we want it, all five public printers will convert to the new system by the start of the fall semester in late August.

repository

Our Cardinal Scholar institutional repository had been getting between one and three spam user accounts every week. By “spam account” I mean those created under the same nonsense word in the title, personal and family names. After exhausting technical fixes to block this, and getting nowhere asking the EPrints tech forum for help, I got leave to fix the repository, so as to remove the new account form and to pass e-mail requests for user accounts to the archivists for their approval.

jury duty

Today I had to take another day off to go to jury duty at Grant County Superior Court #2.

It was serious this time: Judge, bailiff, recorder, county prosecutor (with detective), defense attorney and defendant, all in back of a long room in front of rows of chairs, mostly plastic. The front two rows of six chairs were hard wood: They are for the jury when the final twelve were picked out of the thirty-odd people who showed up.

I am not at liberty to discuss the trial. I can say that one of the pertinent questions asked to the potential jurors was, If a woman stopped at an auto-teller machine in a dimly lit quarter during the night, is she asking to be robbed? The answer is obvious — No — even if it were foolish to do so (by anyone). The charges were more serious, but the point was the same. And the defendant is deemed innocent by law until proven guilty by the State beyond all reasonable doubt.

Out of the first set of twelve potential jurors, who were asked questions by the prosecutor and defense attorney, half of them were dismissed, probably due to their reaction to the nature of the charges. I was among the six that filled their seats, after which was a fifteen minute break.

The Grant County Office Complex is the most boring place that you could ever hope to find yourself in. After getting a drink of water and finding myself with nothing to do, I returned to my assigned seat and stared at the microphone perched on a stand a meter in front of me. I will tell more on the relevance of this in a moment.

When the break was over, the two attorneys, assuming we had listened to the longer discourses and questions to the first set of potential jurors, gave us a summary and questions only, as well as asking us about our occupations and hobbies. After that, another six potential jurors were excused — including me!

I thought at first that I had managed to creep out the defendant, who may have been watching me stare at the microphone without blinking during the whole break. I tend to do things like that. Madre, however, gave me an alternative explanation: The attorneys concluded that, as a computer guy, I think too much. They may have feared that I might want to ponder over the evidence too long, bringing about a hung jury.

So much for my civic duty. They will not call me back again until the cycle of jurors is run again in two years time.

I remarked in a previous entry about the downtown having abandonned buildings. After leaving the Complex, I have driven around the downtown to reach Washington Street. I admit that I was premature in saying that. The buildings around the Courthouse have been repainted and remodelled, so that they make the downtown look vibrant. Now the city pillars need to do some work south of Fifth Street, the blocks of which look like a ruin and which is the first thing I and others see when they drive up Adams Street. And I am still right about the south of the city.

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