Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MOM DOES HER CIVIC DUTY

Jackson County Courthouse
Mom had to do something yesterday that is called "jury duty."  And what this meant was she had to go downtown to the Jackson County Courthouse and sit there all day to find out if they wanted her to be on a jury.  You will probably remember from your high school civics class, or else from watching a show like Boston Legal on TV, that a jury is a group of 12 people who listen to a trial and then decide who they think is right and who is wrong.  Juries are very important in the American Justice System, or at least that's what Mom told me.

Sadly, dogs are not allowed to be on juries.  I think it would be fun to spend several days hanging out with 11 other dogs and snoozing in a courtroom, but I guess I won't get the chance to do that.

Anyway, since Mom was eager to do her part for the justice system, she made us all get up early so she could go do jury duty.  And also she was required by law to show up, or else she would get a big fine and maybe have to go to jail or something bad like that.

Andrew Jackson riding a horse
in front of the Courthouse
One other time, Mom had to do jury duty, but that time she didn't even get called for a panel, which is a group of people that they pick a jury out of.  She thought the same thing might happen again yesterday, but guess what!  She was wrong.  Not only did Mom get picked for a panel, but she actually ended up being one of the people picked for the jury!

This means that Mom will have to go back to the courthouse today and sit through the trial, and then she has to go again tomorrow and do something called "deliberations."  I hate it that she will be away from home so much, but she says it is only for three days, so we dogs can survive it.  Yesterday Nicky peed in his belly band and got it all soaking wet, and someone else peed in the back part of the kitchen.  Mom thinks it was me, but I plead the fifth amendment, which is something that people do sometimes when they are in a courtroom.  Today Mom is taking Nicky to doggy daycare, but the rest of us are staying here at home.



Mom is not supposed to talk about the court case that her jury will be hearing, so she wouldn't tell me anything much about it.  But she did say that it is a civil case, which means that no crime was committed, and nobody will be going to jail when the case is over.  But somebody might get some money from the other party if they win the case.  Also Mom said there are no dogs involved in the case, so I think this means it will be pretty boring.

Art Deco grill on front of Courthouse
Anyway, since I can't talk about the case, I will tell you a little bit about the courthouse instead.  Mom really likes the courthouse because it was built in 1934 in what is called an Art Deco style.  And Mom likes Art Deco quite a bit.  Mom didn't take her camera to jury duty today because she doesn't know if she would be allowed to bring a camera in the building.  So she doesn't have any pictures of the inside of the courthouse.  But I looked on the internet, and I found a few pictures of the outside of the building.





1936 photo of Courthouse and City Hall,
which is also Art Deco style

Art Deco was invented in Paris in the 1920s, and it was kind of a mix of styles with a lot of geometric shapes that look elegant and stylish.  There are a whole bunch of historic styles mixed up together to make Art Deco, like for example Greco-Roman, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, African, and Aztec.

At the time the Jackson County Courthouse was built, Harry S Truman was the presiding judge of the Jackson County Court, and he had a lot to say about what the courthouse should look like.  He had an office in the building for most of the time he was a U.S. Senator, which was from 1935 to 1939.







Okay, well, that's all I'm going to say about Mom's jury duty now.  But I will also tell you that Mom was a good citizen yesterday because she paid her income taxes, which were due this year on the 18th instead of the 15th.  Usually Mom doesn't owe any money for taxes, but this year she did, so she had to pay.  Luckily, she will be making $6 a day as a juror, plus 7 cents per mile to drive downtown to the courthouse.  So I'm sure that will pretty much make up for what Mom had to pay in taxes!

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