A black and white still from an old movie showing a nervous witness on in a witness chair and a lawyer offering a glass of water.
Justice isn’t as simple as you think.

Jury Duty. My search for justice and other things.

Kathy LaFollett
5 min readSep 6


“I suppose we should vote on who’s in charge.”

“Yeah. Not me, I’m not campaigning for that.”

“Me either.”


Somehow six people, five not counting me, knew organically to speak clockwise around a rectangular table. A table manufactured to look like oak. Oak is the wood of choice in court houses. Outside hard life rambling laurel oaks line the 1450 block of 49th from county lock up, to circuit court, and county justice center. Our table had rounded corners rather than hard points. Hmm. I wonder if that’s a subliminal thing or just part of a massive government bid to buy tables? I bet they got a good deal on fake wood.


The chairs had rounded corners too, but they were plastic and metal, with wheels. I looked down at the five spindle wheeled chair I sat in. It looked wrong with the fake wood table.

“Hey, Kathy, you’re foreperson.”

“Huh?” Five faces leaned into our rectangled meeting staring at me.

“We voted. You’re it.”

“I didn’t get to vote.”

“Yeah, you did. You said, pass. We figured you meant like in poker.”

Juror 4 laughed and rolled back to walk over to the coffee table. She picked two little plastic creamer cups before pouring coffee. Their lids were purple. That meant caramel creamer. The coffee smelled good. The coffee table wasn’t manufactured oak, though. Maybe, pine?

“Well?” Juror 2. “We gonna vote on this dumpster fire or what? I don’t get paid not to be at work.”

“I’ve got a babysitter with the kids for this? Let’s just vote.”

“Not guilty.” Juror 5. Looking Juror 3 square in the eyes, which is me. He glanced all around and said, “Not guilty, you guys agree?”

“Well, I think we don’t say it out loud. We have these papers and pencils here. We’re supposed to …” Juror 1. He should have been foreperson, if you ask Juror 3.

Juror 6 stacked his fists on the table to rest his chin. “I can’t believe this is actually a case. You know our taxes are paying for every person in there. Every, single, person.”