Saturday, February 27, 2010

Juror or Judged?

I am sure it has happened to everyone, you open your mailbox and there it sits. A jury duty summons. And I am sure your reaction is the same as mine.."Oh hell!! I don't want to serve Jury Duty!"

I took the darn thing into the house, opened it up, noted the date and stuck it to the fridge with a magnet.

I called in Sunday night and could not believe they wanted me at 8am Monday morning, so I went to the website and yep, sure enough, I was going to jury duty at 8am Monday, ugggg.

Now I understand that with freedom there is responsibility, that our justice system only works if we each do our part, but I still don't like jury duty and I am going to delve into WHY I do not like it.

Everyone checks in, names are called and panels are taken to court rooms, so far everything is cool, comical even, and an opportunity to observe people. The trouble for me is once we are in a court room.

Remember no one volunteered , no one sent in a resume to be a professional juror, we are in a court room because we received an official summons in the mail, yet we are treated by the system as if we are criminals. If you do not answer when roll is called, the court can swear out a warrant for your arrest, what?? I was in the ladies room (I was here and ready at 1:30pm and by 2pm we weren't in the courtroom and I needed to pee, how was I to know that's when you would decide to call us into the room?)
There is a lot of hurry up and wait, waiting outside the courtroom for minutes and sometimes hours as mysterious activities are happening inside the courtroom.

Then there is the dread, dread of being called to the jury box to be a juror and the dread of NOT being called. Once you are interviewed you are either picked to be a juror or deemed unworthy and excused and go back to the juror room to either wait to be sent home or called to another courtroom. Until you are called to the box and interviewed you must sit in the courtroom, listen to regular folks stories and endure the boredom , irritation and frustration of the process.

Once you are called to the juror box the judge starts asking questions, and the defendant/s are sitting right across from you and sometimes the victims families are also in the courtroom. I am going to tell you I heard some very personal, private and heartbreaking information from prospective jurors, information that most people do not share with their best friends. The prosecuting attorney gets a chance to question you , dig a little deeper, poking and prying and lastly the defense attorney gets his chance.

example questions:
What is your profession?
Your spouse or significant other?
Have you or anyone close to you ever been charged with a crime?
Have you or anyone close to you ever been a victim of a crime?
(the court wants specifics, names of crimes, year, plea or jury trial, etc)

Now I just want to know, WHO IS ON TRIAL??? because to me, I am convinced the citizen doing his/her duty was the one on trial, judged, pried open and violated.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Padre Hotel or Not?

Hubby and I love eating out, we enjoy being waited on and trying new food. Hubby's love affair with food started with his parents who were wonderful cooks. Eating food prepared by his parents was always an adventure for the palate. Hubby worked at "Freddie's at the Skyway House" as a teen and was a managing partner of a "Carrows" Restaurant" in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I on the other hand grew up on fried potatoes and pinto beans inspiring me to try new foods at every opportunity.

Due to a plethora of activities hubby has to attend this weekend we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day yesterday. Without the usual discussion of "Where do you want to go?" we instantly agreed on trying the newly remodeled "Padre Hotel"

With great anticipation we dressed, modeled our outfits, "Does this look okay?" grabbed our umbrella and jumped into the pickup truck and off to The Padre Hotel we went. On the drive we discovered that neither of us had ever been to the Padre in the past, strange as it was a landmark. I did remember that a telephone answering service was housed in the Padre and that the answering service had been owned by a silent film star. Alas I could not remember the name of the service nor the film star.

We pulled into the valet parking area and were greeted by friendly and helpful valet staff. One young man opened our doors, held our umbrella and escorted us to the large glass double doors. Entering the lobby, hubby and I were like children on their first trip to Disneyland. We stopped and drank in the beauty of the newly remodeled Padre Hotel. The first thing you see when you walk in is a huge mural of a cowgirl, strange as I had "Old Hollywood" and art deco in mind. To the left is a large bar/grill that was PACKED with nicely dressed patrons all of whom appeared to be enjoying themselves, smiling, talking, drinking, eating and even playing pool.

Finally we made our way to "The Belvedere" , an upscale dining room. We arrived early, before 6P.M. and were quickly seated by the friendly hostess. I took a look around spying the molding near the ceiling reminiscent of old Hollywood and art deco, windows covered in a blue film decorated in oil rigs.

I must admit the service at the Belvedere is possibly the best, friendliest, most attentive service ever, none of the snobby attitude encountered at some of the local eateries.

Drinks were ordered and received promptly, the waitress delivered a sample of their tasty "lamb meatballs" compliments of the Chef. I recommend the pot stickers appetizer they were fresh and tender, the sauce was good without being overpowering. Our dining experience just got better and better, perfectly cooked scallops and shrimp, butter soft fillet mignon, coffee in a French press (better than the fancy coffees and lattes offered at some eateries)and then dessert, bread pudding with lemon custard. The lemon custard is tart, tangy and explodes on your tongue and delights the senses.

On the way home hubby and I plotted our next meal at The Padre Hotel.

picture graciously supplied by: Terry Telford