More importantly, the star witnessed helped me break into my own car.
I arrived in Elko after my 120 mile drive an hour early. This is important. That time was used to snag one of the rare parking spots near the courthouse entrance. The Elko County Courthouse is just fine with you parking three blocks away for your jury duty as long as you don't park next door in the bank parking lot. The Bank of America will tow your vehicle. And they should, because the ensuing tow tantrum is entertaining for all the legal parkers when they've paid attention to all the printed signs and the verbal warnings. I've had enough experience with the Justice System to know that the early bird gets to avoid parking in front of the NoTell Motel just down the street.
So I finish up my sausage egg McMuffin and my juice, make eye contact with what turns out to be the defense attorney as he pulls in besides me, and then promptly lock my keys in my van because I have business to conduct in the courthouse restrooms.
I figured if there was any place my fabulous mini-van was safe it was probably there, and if it wasn't I could complain directly to the judge about it. She was probably way over the bank towing chuckles anyhow.
From there the process is the same as all the other times I've had to show up. Co-jurors looking at each other, rolling their eyes, crossing their fingers, listlessly drinking coffee. Men flashing much too much underwear as they take off their belts to pass through the metal detectors. The bailiff ruffling through my purse and pausing over my menstrual cup in it's purple wrapper. The moans after sinking down into 100 year old wooden chairs which are no stranger to 100 year old bouts with piles.
However, everyone perked up once the charges were read in full. Dots were connected with what they'd read in the papers. Co-jurors decided right then if they really wanted to stay or really really really wanted to go. Six counts of lewd behavior with a child under the age of 14 and the defendant out on a $250,000 bond. This is what was read by the court clerk six times in quick succession (along with some descriptions of what particular sexual assaults are unlawful, which I'll just leave out):
A person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, other than acts constituting the crime of sexual assault, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of that person or of that child, is guilty of lewdness with a child.
This ain't no meth trial. This isn't DUI. It's not even the dork I was presented with last time who couldn't help but go around his town repeatedly committing domestic violence whilst very drunk. This was a defendant with some serious charges against him, charges that could have him in prison for the rest of his life, who was not only very active in helping to pick his jurors but was making eye contact with the judge, the jurors, and the prosecution.
It was fascinating to watch.
When we were excused for a fifteen minute potty break, I asked the bailiff to help me out with the keys situation and he gave the good word to a uniformed highway patrolman who was waiting to testify. Seems everyone in that courtroom knew him except for me, and since he gladly broke into my van in the matter of seconds, I professed sudden and undying love for him. He called me "kiddo" though I'm sure we were the same age. Yup. I love him.
By early afternoon the final twelve had been chosen, along with two alternates, and the rest of us got to go on with our lives. My life at that point consisted of buying myself a burrito and thanking my lucky stars I didn't have to hear that trial, including testimony from a child.
The outcome? The man was acquitted. It's quite a story. You can read the article HERE.
Then I felt pretty awesome about acquiring enough points on my jury service record to remove my name from the jury pool. That was short lived. My points expire in February.
Elko might be pretty in March, dammit.