Posted by: jility | August 1, 2012

Felony Dumbass

For the past month I have been on call for Superior Court jury duty. Evidently, Lewis County Washington has a hard time finding enough people to sit on their juries because the ratio of criminals to noncriminals is pretty poor. It is cheap to live in Lewis County. It is not as cheap as it was 10 years ago, but it is still cheap. It is so cheap, meth makers can afford to rent houses to make their drugs and not live there. It is not uncommon to read about low rent houses blowing up due to a malfunction in the process or whatever else causes meth labs to explode.

The courthouse docket in Chehalis is filled with cases due to meth use or meth making or meth selling. It is a County full of characters right out of Breaking Bad. The robberies are done to fund users’ habits, and we have fallen victim to two such robberies in the past year.

The way the jury duty works is you call in every night after six to find out if your panel is scheduled to show up the next day. There were FIVE panels (each panel consists of about 50 people) for the month and some of us were called in more than a dozen times! It doesn’t matter if you are chosen for a trial or not, you still must show up when your panel is called.

I was picked for the first trial in which my panel was chosen. This was Superior Court so the bad guys were very bad guys. After a while, they all began to look alike. They had short shaven or bald shaven heads, lots of tattoos and clenched fists (unless they had been in the jail long enough for the meth to wear off). It is interesting to me that meth users all sound like they spent some time in the South or Texas. They all have a rather slurred drawl that is unmistakable. Many walk with clenched fists held out from their shrunken meth bodies.

The attitude of the prosecutors is, “THROW AWAY THE KEYS!” The attitude of the defense attorney is, “We’ve all done things we regret right?” I found my sympathies more drawn to the defense than the adversarial prosecutor. Every time he attacked a witness in the first trial, I found myself disliking him and his methods of attack. I wonder why prosecutors haven’t figured that out. Curious.

When I left for the second trial, Sir Cussalot suggested I act insane so they wouldn’t want me. I said, “You mean just be myself right?” “Right,” he answered. We were scheduled to leave for an agility trial in a couple of days and a court trial would really put a crimp in my style.

When I arrived at the jury holding room, I told the woman in charge that they would get a lot more people for jury duty if they didn’t make us wait on standby all freaking month! I suggested they only trap people for a few days or even a week. She informed me that if they did that, they would have to deal with 1,500 different people every month! BIG FREAKING DEAL!

Once in the courtroom, we were informed of the charges.  Same as last time; possession of meth and threatening mortal bodily harm and vandalism or something like that. After that, the attorneys ask questions of the potential jurors to try to get the best advantage for their side.The tweeker sat listening, as they read his charges. His legs fidgeting under the desk while his hands played with a pen. He was a good looking guy in his late 20s or early 30s but hard to tell for sure with tweekers. They age fast.

The prosecutor asked a bunch of questions. I was spared in that round. The defense attorney then got her turn to question us. She asked if any of us knew any of the witnesses or were we related to any of the witnesses. That was a big NO from me. Next question, “Are any of you on Facebook?”


“If so, are any of you Facebook friends with any of the people involved in these proceedings?” Now this is where I was conflicted. I didn’t think so, but I have almost 2,000 “friends” on Facebook! I could be friends with one of them and not even know it! So, I stupidly raised my hand.

“Which one number 19?”

“Well, I am not sure. I have almost 2,000 friends on Facebook so it is possible that I am and don’t even know it.”

“TWO THOUSAND FRIENDS!” was the unified cry from the courtroom. Now I felt like an idiot without a life!

“Why do so many people want to be your friend?” the defense lawyer asked in disbelief.

“Wouldn’t you?” I asked in equal disbelief. After I said that, all I could think of was that I sounded like Kato Kaelin in the OJ trial when he was asked why so many people wanted to be his friend. People laughed, so I guess I didn’t sound sofa king we todd it. I was being myself and I figured that was enough for them to reject me. I didn’t even have to try! Idiocracy comes easily for me.

Next she asked if anyone had ever said anything they regretted. She called on me. I said sure I had. She asked what. I said when we were kids, my siblings and I would threaten to kill each other pretty much on a daily basis. She asked if we meant it. I said, “NO! We were idiot kids.” Then she called on an older man in the row in front of me. “Yup,” he muttered in a low gruff voice.

“What was it that you said and regretted sir?” she asked.

His response:

“’I do’ to my first wife.”

We all lost it. I continued laughing long after the rest of the room had stopped. I found it hysterically funny. I had a similar experience in a Lewis County movie theater some years ago. We were sitting there in a fairly full theater of rednecks watching “The Bird Cage.” Sir C and I were laughing so hard we were in tears. The rest of the theater were silent! GOD I loved that movie!

But I digress.

Next she called on a sweet young girl sitting right in front of me. She asked the same question of her. The young woman thought for a moment, then answered, “No, I can’t think of anything.”

“Why do you suppose that is?” asked the attorney.

“Well, I tend to think before I speak,” she said quietly.

“WHAT?” I blurted in my outside voice, “CAN YOU TEACH ME HOW TO DO THAT?”

There were some uncomfortable chuckles in the room, including some from the attorneys and the sheriff sitting next to the prosecutor. I looked down, wanting to take it back and become invisible. I could not believe that had come out of my big fat mouth.

Embarrassment aside, I knew I was unintentionally helping myself to freedom from jury duty. I was beginning to make quite a name for myself, and not in a good way either!

So then the defense attorney asked how people felt about drug use. I put the icing on the cake when I said, “I think drug users should be treated, not prosecuted.” The look on the prosecutor’s face said it all. See ya biatch!

Many were called but few were chosen, THANK GOD I was not one of the chosen that day!

So as they read the charges on the various people brought to court during my stint on jury duty, I couldn’t help thinking that the justice system doesn’t need all those different fancy charges for their perps. They really only need three different charges:

Dumbass (most juveniles and and other bad guys in training)

Misdemeanor Dumbass (sorta bad but not evil)

And finally for the really bad dudes:

Felony Dumbass

Those three charges pretty much cover them all.

Helen  Grinnell King


  1. Helen, in the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, I think I’ve just wet myself! Laughing so hard I can’t stop!!

  2. I keep ‘The Bird Cage’ on my TV table!!! Are we related? I’m like…I todd I taw a puddie tat we todd it! So, I am sofa king lucky we were idiiot kids together! Thank you for being a friend! xoxox

    • I love you Lizzie :). We had ome fun didn’t we?

      • We sure did! Love you too!

  3. Haha Helen, too funny!!

  4. Priceless, Helen! Wish I could have been there – I’d have been rolling on the floor laughing!
    Karen Biggs

  5. LOL! What? Can you teach me how to do that? ROFLOL

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