Jury Duty

santa-ana-5

I had jury duty last week. I had jury duty two weeks ago (It’s taking me forever to get this post out. Ack.) It was weird and kind of fun. I learned a lot about our justice system. It’s very laborious and monotonous and painstakingly thorough with just enough criminal craziness to make it interesting. However, I’m glad it’s over and I can get back to my regularly scheduled life. Phew!

santa-ana-4

It was weird going to court every day like it was my job. I got dressed up (sort of, I put tights and shoes on instead of my usual leggings and slides). I had a regular 8 am commute in traffic (a ride from Payam because my car was in the shop).

santa-ana-2

I packed a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for my hour lunch break. I sat by a fountain and listened to birds sing in the dilapidated civic plaza that was probably amazing back in the 70’s. It was very strange for this freelancer who hasn’t gone to “work” since 2003.  I think the hardest part was being stuck in a squeaky chair for hours with nothing to fidget with. I never realized how many “breaks” I take during my work day, and by breaks I mean, going to the bathroom a million times, stopping to wash the dishes and the whole kitchen between tasks, playing with my dogs, stepping out for a bit of gardening etc etc… I have a pretty flexible schedule usually and I guess I get up and down a lot more than jurors!

Thankfully the case was interesting. I learned a lot about credit card fraud. Did you know criminals steal cards and then re-write the strips on the back with different information? It’s a whole racket. Our guy was career burglar with bolt cutters and a change of clothes in his backpack and everything.

It was really sad. I felt terrible for the defendant’s pregnant girlfriend in the audience. It wasn’t an easy case. I was going to share the whole story here but it was a lot of typing and in the end I still don’t know that we ruled 100% correctly and I’m not sure I could handle anyone weighing in on what went down.

It was one of those decisions that could go either way, depending on how you define a certain word. We were not allowed a dictionary or any expert advice on the law outside of what the lawyers and judge provided us. This meant we were left to discern using only our common sense as a group. Common sense among twelve people can mean a lot of different things!  We haggled over it for hours. I thought it might even end up in a hung jury but in the end we were able to persuade the last straggler to one side and we all went home and got on with our lives.

I wonder how the defendant will go on with his life. We were not part of the punishment decisions. Will he rot in jail? Will he change his course? Will his girlfriend be okay? I have no idea. But I do know that we really tried to do the best we could for him.

santa-ana-3

On one of the days we had a three-hour lunch break. The judge had a prior engagement that was really important so they scheduled court around him. This was great for me because I love exploring. I was left in downtown Santa Ana with no car so I walked all over. I visited the old courthouse. I had coffee at a quaint little coffee shop.

santa-ana-1

I walked up and down the streets, ogling the piñata and fancy quinceanera dress stores while women in carts tried to sell me cut up pieces of melon and mango. It was pleasant.

santa-ana-7

On the last day Payam and the girls came and picked me up and we decided to have dinner at a diner that I had seen on the commute. I mean, how could I not want to go to a restaurant that has a cute kawaii heart in it’s name? It actually turned out to be really good. The menu was extensive and since we were the only customers anywhere in sight at 5pm, we had great service. It was the cherry on top of my fun little excursion into a town I never go to. I should go back and finish exploring all the places I saw but I probably won’t. I tend to keep to my own neighborhood, sadly. So until next time Santa Ana!

Patches

Coyote sighting!

There’s a coyote in our neighborhood who has been openly lurking about in the middle of the day. I’ve seen him four days in a row, but not yesterday. He seems to be minding his own business. He sees me and the dogs but just keeps trotting by. One day I passed him on a foot path that traversed my path and there he was just sitting under a bush, munching on a rabbit. He narrowed his gaze, his ears stood straight up but he made no move towards me or away from me. I fumbled for my phone but ended up getting only a fuzzy shot because I didn’t have the patience to stand there still long enough. I have a feeling I will keep getting chances though.

I’m going to name him Patches. I like to name the neighborhood squirrels, Chippy so it seems appropriate that our neighborhood coyote is named Patches. He has patchy fur on his back. I’m not sure if it’s his natural coloring or if he has battle wounds from fights. He seems healthy enough. He doesn’t seem to be super skinny or act sick. I was talking to some neighbors who were also out when I’ve seen him and everyone seems to be in agreement that he’s really nothing to be afraid of. After all, we do live right next to a nature preserve that is probably his home.

We’re thinking Patches is lurking about because we have new neighbors next door who don’t understand the trash system. They are students going to the local college. Apparently some rich parents bought their daughter a huge big house and she is renting it out to many roommates. We really have no clue just that people are constantly getting dropped off with big suitcases via Lyft or Uber and they don’t speak English. We don’t see them out in the day but their trash on trash day is piled high in their trashcan and over-flowing in flimsy white trash bags stashed around the base of their trash can. Of course this never ends well. Animals (like Patches) come in the night and tear the bags open and strew the trash all over our street and into our front yard. I don’t need to get up in arms about it, the rest of the neighbors have already reported them to the to home owners association. I’m sure the matter will be rectified with an extra-size trash can soon.

But in the meantime we have a new friend, Patches.