Thursday, November 15, 2007



THE BUILDING ON THE FAR LEFT FRONT IS WHERE I PARKED. ON THE BLUE SIGN IT SAID COURT PARKING. THEREFORE ACCORDING TO THE BACK ON THE SUBPOENA THAT WAS THE PLACE TO PARK. WHEN I SAW THE PRICES LISTED I THOUGH HOW IN THE WORLD CAN ANYONE PARK HERE. THE SUBPOENA HAD SAID THIS WOULD BE FREE PARKING FOR PROSPECTIVE GRAND JURY.
UP THE STREET AND ACROSS TO THE RIGHT, NEXT TO THE CUMBERLAND RIVER AND BEHIND THE OLD BUILDING WAS JUDGE JOHN BIRCH BUILDING.


ON THE RIGHT WALL OF THE LOBBY IS A PICTURE OF JUDGE BIRCH.


FROM THE SIXTH FLOOR WINDOW YOU CAN SEE COURT HOUSE AND ON THE OTHER SIDE IS A NICE PUBLIC SQUARE WHICH USE TO BE A PARKING LOT. IN THE DISTANCE YOU CAN SEE OUR SKYSCRAPER AFFECTIONATELY REFERRED TO AS "THE BATMAN BUILDING".


THIS IS THE OLD BUILDING YOU LOOK DOWN UPON FROM THE SIXTH FLOOR WINDOW AND YOU CAN SEE THE RIVER AND PART OF THE PUBIC SQUARE.


TO THE LEFT FROM THE WINDOW YOU CAN SEE THREE BRIDGES AND THE CUMBERLAND RIVER AND THE TITIANS FOOTBALL STADIUM.





THIS WAS THE PLACKETTE OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM.






THIS IS THE COURTROOM WHERE THE GRAND JURY WAS TO BE SELECTED. I SAT IN THE SOFT BLACK CHAIR ON THE LEFT.
GRAND JURY SELECTION
I was dreading this day as I had gotten a subpoena in the mail a month ago. I was to arrive at this courtroom at 10 A M. Since it had been forever and a day since I had been to the public square. The last time I was there the public square was a parking lot so needless to say I had to study the map on back of the subpoena to not make any wrong turns.
I must admit that I am directionally impaired. If I do not miss the place or street and have to turn around, I begin to wonder if it is me. Right where the star was on the map was the parking garage. Made it without a wrong turn. I was feeling good about this. I had thirty minutes to find the courtroom. I looked at the map and headed across the four lane street.
I had to cross another side street to get to the correct area. Once there, here came an officer and I asked where the Birch Building was located. He smiled and told me it was the second building on the right. I thanked him and headed for the building.
I went up several steps and then crossed a plaza where people of all shapes, sizes and color were smoking. I felt like I had entered an outdoor ashtray. I held my breath and entered the door.
Taking a deep breath I was in a lobby with a security check point. There were four places to enter. I went over to the empty left one and the guard shook his head NO and pointed rather tersely to the one on the right next to it. I immediately stepped behind the other person in line. Then to my amazement, two gentlemen one with a backpack were allowed to go through the line that was empty on the left. I looked at the guard and he gave me a frown like don't ask just do. So I put my purse in the dark pink plastic bucket and walked through the area. I was relieved that the rods and screws in my back did not set the thing off.
I picked up my purse from the bucket after it had gone through the security check and headed for the desk at the end of the lobby. The lady there was nice and she said the 2 gentlemen at the elevators would tell me where I should go.
One of the men was a HUGE black man in a beige suit and the other was a average size white man in a dark suit. I looked down at the black man's feet and his black shoes had to be the biggest I have ever seen. My thought he would need a foot that big not to fall over. He very gently told me to take the elevator to the sixth floor and follow the signs. I was rather surprised to hear such a soft voice from such a big body.
On the sixth floor I was greeted by a older black man , a young white man and a white lady with blond hair in a pony tail. All of Merle's blond jokes started playing in my head. I was handed a card to fill out and right behind their desk was the doors of the courtroom. There was a hallway and a room on either side . I went to the right and sat at the table and filled out my card. I returned it to the lady and asked the older gentleman "if I could take pictures?" He gave me a puzzled look and the young man wanted to know what I wish to take pictures of and why. I told him I had a blog and wanted to write about my experience.
I was told that I could take pictures out the windows and the signs and the courtroom but NO PEOPLE COULD BE IN THEM. I asked the older gentleman if I could take a picture of him and again was told very quickly NO. I figured I better just take the ones they said I could do.
The courtroom filled up with ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE. Mr. Yellow sweater was talking to Mrs. Pink suit. Two older white men were discussing very loudly that they could not wait to volunteer. I thought "yeah two down and 26 to go."
Judge Blackburn entered and we all had to stand while the average white guy who had been at the elevator announced she was entering. She has short dark hair and was a petite lady. She was very concise and articulate.
After she swore us in, she explained what we would do, times we would have to be there. She said she needed 12 juror and 16 alternates. It seemed that almost half the group stood up. I was amazed as I had practiced my excuse over and over.
Now my excuse was not fiction, it was the truth. I am the main care giver of my 88 year old Mother In Law. There were a total of twenty people who volunteered so now the Judge had to pick eight more. Prince had been on the Grand Jury a couple of years ago and he had said that the Judge he had called people in alphabetical order. The first person she called their last name started with Ha and I practiced my excuse silently as my last name starts with He. Then the second person she called their name started with a B. I said a silent pray of Thanks that she was picking them randomly.
There was only six more alternate slots to fill and each one had to serve a week. The Judge would ask them "Do you have any reason you cannot serve a week." One gal said she had to be out of town every other week and the Judge quickly told her she could pick her week from one of the ones she would be in town.
I kept silently practicing and issued a "THANK YOU PRAYER" each time she called someone and it was not me. After the jury and alternates were all selected she dismissed the rest of us with the statement "she would put us down for a week of regular juror duty to be executed in the future". I would use the same excuse when called again but thought a week is better than three months. Granted it was only three half days each week but those days would be lost forever. I thought a week trumps three months any day.
Just like lemurs we excused juror headed for the elevators. As many as could get on did and then the elevator stopped on floor five. No one was there. Then it stopped on floor four. No one was there. One person complained that it was gonna stop on each floor. I was in the front right corner as I had held the open door button as all got on so I turned and said to them "This is their way of giving you a chance to change your mind and volunteer" Most laughed out loud and one older black man said " I want volunteer for nothing anymore". Made me wonder what had happen in his past.
I wanted to take some pictures in the lobby but I knew I needed to ask first. The lady at the desk in the lobby looked shocked at my request so she told me to ask this gray haired officer who was at the security check point. I did and again he wanted to know what I wished to take pictures of and I said the portrait of the judge . Before I could get anything else out he said okay but not the security check point.
I got my picture and got the heck out of the building. I will post more pictures later but I was walking on clouds. I had not been picked how beautiful life was and now I could take Mimi to the doctor that afternoon and not have to reschedule the appointment.
I took my parking ticket and the ticket they had given us to pay for our parking and I entered the garage. I was told "You are in the wrong parking area and you will have to pay." I told the lady I was juror and had a ticket for the court to pay it" Again she repeated her first statement and told me to go on to my car.
I had to park on the eighth floor and it was one of those cork screw down the middle exits so I was a doing what race car drivers do, turning left all the way down.
When I got to the gate, she came out and was stern and told me I was in the wrong garage. I told her it was on the subpoena that this was the area and she said the map was wrong.
To be released so I could head home, I had to fish out $12.00 for less than three hours parking. I need to invest in a garage downtown. I could be a millionaire in month.
Heading home in the silver bullet, I thought I am not only directional impaired but now I cannot read a damn map. I was highly pissed at first as I had to pay for this experience where others had not . I am assuming that they parked in the correct place.
I thought of sending my receipt to the court and demanding my twelve dollars back but then I would run the risk of getting name recognition.
The Kitty Justice is I got over it and thought twelve dollars verse three months of jury duty. I would much rather pay the twelve dollars. CASE CLOSED.

4 comments:

Susie said...

Quite the experience! In CA, jurors are paid $5.00 per day. It doesn't even pay for gas, (or parking)
I know it's our civic duty though..

Corn Dog said...

Wonderful pictures. I can't believe how much the town has changed and for the better.

Lady Di Tn said...

Susie
Civic duty or not I do not wish to participate. I think hearing all the evidence would put my depression in full steam. I try not to watch the new as much as possible because all they tell us is bad things. We get a whopping 10.00 a day to be on the grand jury. Still not enough to pay for parking

CD
Nashville has changed and more for the better. I still hate how the mind set is to tear it down and put something else there. Granted some do need to be torn down, but we need to save the favor of the city. More and more high rise apartment or rather condos or whatever you wish to call them are dottie the sky of downtown. More and more are moving back into the city. I guess urban sprawl has come to an end especially with Gas prices.

Peace to both

Mary said...

What an experience! In Ontario, where I live, we don't have to worry so much about parking when called for Jury Duty. If you get there early, you can park in the courthouse parking lot for free. There are a total of 15 spots for courthouse staff and potential jurors.

Because of a medical condition, I had to ask to be excused from jury duty. I would not be able to stay in the courtroom for more than an hour at a time. When I was younger I would have volunteered in a minute, but since my accident I cannot do such a stint.

Thanks so much for sharing. The photos are great and it's nice to take a peek into your area.

Blessings for a great weekend.
Mary