Thursday, April 15, 2010
My Birthday and Jury Duty
Last Saturday was my birthday. When one's birthday falls on a Saturday, it's going to be an awesome day right? Well, it WAS!
In the morning, I biked over to Lake Phalen and met my friend Elissa from my job last year, my old supervisor and some of my youth from Youth Outdoors were there. It was really good to see them again. They were there because it was the St. Paul Parks Spring Cleanup Day and the Conservation Corps was on the job, signing up volunteers. They were there for an hour but then they had to go to another site, so I went out to the lake by myself and did the tougher areas that most volunteers miss. I actually found two diapers, if you can believe it. They have garbage cans not even 20 yards away from where I found them! I hit a cluster of willows and maneuvered like Lara Croft around them to pull bottles and bait containers out of the water. I also pulled one of the dead willows out of the ground and used it to reach garbage further away. I'd like to tell you that it was my own idea to do that, but I saw some kids do it and felt a bit slow. Oh well--it got the job done!
Then I biked over to Lake Como to meet my boyfriend and have a picnic lunch at the top of the hill next to Black Bear Crossing. I brought the blanket, sandwiches, bean salad and pineapple in my backpack. He made me chocolate cake! It was good, but like a lot of cake I've had in Japan, it wasn't as moist or sweet as I would like. I hope he never reads this...
We hung out there for awhile, then went over to the Conservatory, which was way too crowded so we left and walked around the lake. We spoke in Japanese the entire day, which was his birthday present to me. We could speak all the time, but I would get tired and I already tried to date a guy in Japan who didn't speak any English--it sucked.
That evening I hung out with my girls form last year, plus Elissa's roommate. We met at the Happy Gnome, which has some of the best beer variety in the cities, as far as I know (but I don't know very far). Shigeki didn't come because I told him we'd only be regaling the events of last year, which is what ended up happening, but my girls still gave me a hard time about not bringing him. He doesn't drink, either, so bringing him to a bar seemed like a bad idea. Anyway, a hilarious time was had by all!
Transitioning to the other part of my title, I had jury duty this week, Mon.-Wed. Now that the trial I got on is over, I am allowed to blog about it!
The first day I read a lot and didn't get on a trial. I almost got on a breaking-and-entering trial, but it was settled out of court. Tuesday I got on a drug possession charge trial. The case was that the police had busted down the door of a suspected drug dealer's house, only to find nothing except some crack cocaine in a balled up napkin in the defendant's mailbox, with 125 dollars. One of our speculations as a jury was, was he using the mailbox as a drop box for selling drugs? But if so, why would both the money AND the drugs be there? Since there were other suspected drug users in the guy's apartment, plus a mailbox is accessible to the public, we couldn't find him guilty without a reasonable doubt. There was a confession where he said he smoked crack, but that was after the police convinced him they could make him a deal of some kind. The defendant said on the stand that he was worried about his kids being taken from him, so he lied to the police. In my mind, it's very possible that it was his crack and he told the police the truth then lied on the stand, but the prosecutor (the state of MN) did not prove to most of us in the jury that he was guilty without a reasonable doubt. Three or four jurors were leaning more towards guilty, but we convinced them and found him not guilty. Hopefully, if it was his crack, he will learn his lesson from almost getting caught.
All this happened mostly during Wednesday. Pretty short trial. I'm happy with the outcome--the defendant seemed like a good guy in general and I wouldn't feel right about sending him to jail (or whatever they would do to him) without being absolutely sure. Oh, and on a positive note, they treated us to lunch! I think it was the Saint Paul Hotel--good buffet. Got to know the other jurors some too. One was a judge himself! He said he might be the only judge in Ramsey county to sit as a juror. Another juror lives in my neighborhood, and his wife has a rain garden--she love gardening in general so I'm invited to their house for lunch and to talk about gardening.
That's all for now. Santini, it was lovely to see you last weekend! Hopefully I'll see you and Nancy and the kids in August!