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Thanksgiving 1998 With Mister Roper

A Perry Mason trial for a while in Queens New York during Thanksgiving Week

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Thanksgiving 1998.  It is raining viciously. Still lots of people are not home, they're at the parade. Can you imagine with winds blowing at about 20 and raining like crazy?  The drops are beating on my window and are demanding to get in.   

I was finally selected for a jury panel yesterday afternoon.  It was a gun charge case and I was rejected because of my experience with guns.  Possession of a handgun is criminal here.   

I felt like I was in a Perry Mason trial for a while, the defense attorney attached me voraciously while questioning me if I could be impartial.   The judge gave her a lecture insinuating that she should believe impartiality can be possible even though one has a gun experience.  Of the 12 seated, I, a young woman and an lawyer got almost all of the attention during the allowed 15 minutes of questioning. It was fun.  The woman insinuated that the defense attorney would get the defendant off even if he was believed to be guilty as sin, (the candidate projected a chip on shoulder attitude).  The lawyer took umbrage and got aggressive and hostile.   

That questioning would have made good television drama.   

The prosecuting attorney was dull, dry and boring in her questioning.  Maybe the woman knew law but she certainly didn't go to acting school like the defense attorney had.  She made her role seem so inconsequential that I wondered if a mans future was really at stake.   

I regret the chances of the defendant, a Mr. Roper, in all of this.  He was a black man, himself with an attitude.  His lawyers were obviously from legal aide and there he sat, it a shiny gray sharkskin suit with a black shirt and gray tie.  He was perfectly fit for a stereotype: he looked the hood.  Mr. Roper seemed detached from the proceedings and was jiggling his head.  It was almost as though he had a Walkman on and it was playing a familiar melody.  I dont think the man had a chance; his countenance and attire were too suspect.  I would bet you dollars to donuts that the impaneled jurors do find him guilty.  I wanted to shout at him as we rejects were leaving the court room at least get a conservative suit you fool.  Sanity overwhelmed me thank goodness.  I realized that would be too much drama and likely cause a mistrial and me a contempt charge.   

Sigh.  And it is a serious sigh.  I always feel the need to point out the obvious when the obvious is not apparent to some who need to know it.  It gets me in trouble all of the time, doesnt it?  

Off to Thanksgiving Dinner with me but I dont think so for Mr. Roper.  2000 Dennis


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