21 December 2007

Innocence Doesn't Mean Better Off

Yesterday I was called in for jury duty at the 3rd District Court at the Matheson Courthouse. The selection process alone was quite interesting and the judge and the counsel returned to the courtroom after selection and read my name along with the seven others that would sit on the jury. Surprised but happy to be out of work for a day, I decided I would enjoy the experience.

The fascinating realization is that I didn’t have to force myself to enjoy it. It was such a great experience. One person on the jury commented that it was like watching a play. And it totally was. I had never been sure of the actual process so I absorbed everything they told us.

Basically, the State brought a case against a man who had been accused of using a counterfeit $100 bill at a 7-Eleven. Innocent until proven guilty is a hard concept for me to grasp because from the outset, I thought the guy had done it. But I tried to listen and take all evidence and testimony into either finding guilt or innocence. Witness testimony revealed that he and his girlfriend were selling her prescription drugs so they could buy the “drugs of their choice,” meth and cocaine, while living in their storage unit.

When he passed the bad note at the Sev, he was high on cocaine and had also been handed the money in the dark light of the storage shed. The clerk told him she would have to call the owner and then eventually, the cops. The defendant hung around the store for 20 to 30 minutes while she made phone calls. Finally, he decided that he would write his real name and real phone number on a slip of paper and leave the store. He was arrested a few blocks down the street and booked for 40 days into jail.

The jury unanimously found him to be innocent.

I have recounted this story to people at work and everybody says, “Why? He was on drugs, living in a storage unit, and he most likely got the counterfeit from a drug deal.” And my answer to all of those points is, yes. However, he was not accused of any of those things. The jury found that he did not knowingly pass the bad note so he can’t be convicted. And he wrote down his real name and phone number. Not actions of a guilty man. On top of that, the whole incident has to be isolated.

The saddest part is that since his episode at the 7-Eleven last June, his girlfriend has committed suicide, he still lives in a storage shed, and he is messed up on drugs. And that’s when I realized he’ll probably show up in the court system again and his innocence yesterday didn’t really help him out at all. I got paid $18.50 to be there yesterday but I would have given that and my whole month's pay to see that guy get a better deal than just being found innocent.

19 December 2007

One Room Bungalow for Sale

My sister Julie has always upstaged me when it comes to home making. She is like Martha Stewart but without the federal record and the nipping at the sherry bottle. From sewing scrunchies to making my couch cushion covers, she has a knack for detail and making things look fabulous.

Recently, she has added the title of general contractor to her resume. With the completion of a made-from-scratch gingerbread house, she has gone from making merry like Martha Stewart to providing housing for gingerbread men a la Ty Pennington. And Bryon has gone from more than playing the role of Julie's husband and has stepped in to assume the subcontractor role. Yes, in an Extreme Home Makeover fashion, Julie and Bryon have constructed a one-room abode from nothing but flour, eggs, spices and probably some choice words.

Vaulted ceilings and a pretzel-thatched roof give this charming bungalow a timeless invitation that says, “Come in. Stay.” A speckled stone finish is highlighted by seasonal red Christmas lights that make this a true home for the Holidays. A glowing fireplace tops off the cozy nature of this must-see home. Way to go Team Julie and Bryon!

12 December 2007

"Maybe it's the Sound of Distress"

Around 3:00 am last night I awoke to a pounding noise. It was short and intermitent so I kept falling back asleep. At 3:15 am it became annoying. At 3:18 am, I was suddenly awake enough to wonder if there was danger. Unfortunately, I don't have the danger-sensing unagi like Ross on Friends so I woke Ben up.

This annoyance was pounding on the walls or doors in the condo below us. Ben said, "Maybe they are remodeling." I loved that one. What jerk remodels in a community living setting at 3:00 am, now 3:30am? Then the Scout Master in him took the reigns on his brain and he said, "Maybe it's the sound of distress." Oftentimes, when I am distressed I pound on the walls. I see the humor in it now but when it's 3:30 am and you have new semi-weird but seemingly nice neighbors below you, you start to worry a little about somebody else's potential "distress."

Ben put on his jeans and sweatshirt and headed downstairs to listen at the door. He didn't return for a few minutes and being the worrier that I am, it seemed like a long time. Finally, he returned to let me know that the neighbor across the hall from the pounders informed Ben that one of the roommates had locked himself out.

Yes, in the time of cell phones, people still pound on the walls. Next time my car breaks down I won't bother with a phone call. I'll send up smoke signals.

06 December 2007

Best Seat in the House

Check out my finished product! Once again, many kudos to Julie for sewing the cushion covers, and also to Ben who said if I totally ruined the couch, we could scrap it and get a new one.