Hi. We have an intern named Jon Golbe. He's one of those people full of boundless optimism and enthusiasm, and so it follows that we want to break him like a dry stick. For this reason, we have been shipping him off to the courthouse. What follows is his first dispatch. You know what kind of burns us up? It's good. Help us to think of some place to send this happy little fuck, OK?
Lately I’ve been spending hours at the Manhattan Criminal Court. It's at 100 Centre Street and looks just like all the other buildings in the City Hall area, except that it has wooden construction awnings in front. Basically, I have fallen asleep three times and met a lot of senior citizens and deranged people. It's been a big old nothing, so I tried to test the waters yesterday and chat up the defendant.
It was during jury selection, i.e., the part where all the jurors claim they are not able to judge the case impartially. The most common reason given was, “I hate the defendant’s alleged crimes too much to be able to judge the defendant fairly.” Every time a juror told the judge this, the judge would patiently explain that, while he also hated robbery, they were being asked only to serve as jurors. They would just have to judge whether the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Then he would say, “So do you think you could judge this case fairly?” And again and again, the potential jurors would say, “No. No I couldn’t.”
The judge would reply, “Then I don't want you on this jury. You are dismissed.”
One lady, a staffer at the New York Post, said she might have read something about the case.
“What did you read?” the judge said.
“I can't recall, your honor.”
Even though she couldn't remember what, if anything, she had read, she said that IF she had read something, she had definitely formed an opinion about it.
“Then I don’t want you on this jury,” the judge said. “You are dismissed.”
After about thirty people got out of jury duty this way, the cops cuffed the defendant and started leading him out of the court. On his way out, I asked the defendant what he thought of all these excuses. He said, “No comment.”
Then a cop asked for my credentials, told me to keep my mouth shut, and told me that I could have been held in contempt of court, and--that if it were up to him--I would have been.