Los Angeles

Juror #4

I celebrated my release from jury duty yesterday afternoon by eating a delicious brownie and finally talking about the trial. As you might expect, I hated being silenced about my experience and the trial.

The trial revolved around four 20/21 year old Latino defendants charged with gang loitering. One defendant was charged with a second count for violation of a gang injunction. Both crimes are misdemeanors.

According to the prosecution, the four defendants (plus two others) were members of a gang near LAX. On November 17, 2007, they were loitering at the corner of a park. The sheriff’s deputies who detained them and also testified witnessed them throwing gang signs, showing off their tattoos and calling out their gang’s name. They did this with the intent to establish their dominance in that neighborhood and publicize the gang. This caused non-gang members to be intimidated. The defense countered that some of the young men were (a) not active gang members (or were never jumped in), (b) all four of the young men were not at the park on that afternoon, (c) the young men were arrested at different locations in their neighborhood (not in a group), and (d) the district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department targeted these young men as part of a current push to enforce gang injunctions. After a couples hours of deliberation, we found all four defendants not guilty. I don’t think the guys were angels. If I saw them on the street in a group, I’m sure I’d feel intimidated and avoid them too. However, the prosecution’s case and the evidence didn’t get us past the standard of reasonable doubt so we returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts.
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Cuentos, Familia

We got hosed, Tommy

“We got hosed, Tommy!” Lori said to me and sat down on a bench, exhausted from a long day exploring cenotes (underground lakes) and the pyramids at Chichen Itza.

We’d just missed the ferry from Playa del Carmen back to Cozumel and had to wait another hour for the next ferry. That wouldn’t seem so bad, unless you consider that we’d been traveling around the Yucatán Peninsula since 6 in the morning and it was now 10.

“I know Tommy, let’s go get drinks.”

We left my parents at the dock and joined the guys at a nearby bar for a cold beer.

For the rest of the trip, Lori and I repeated the phrase several times and even addressed each other as Tommy. My mom was confused.

“Qué es eso de Tommy?”

We shrugged.

We couldn’t remember where we’d heard the phrase. I kept thinking it had something to do with The Rugrats due to the toddler in the blue shirt named Tommy.

I repeated the phrase recently to Alan when we got duped in to taking an unnecessary cab ride to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

“Huh? Where is that from?” he asked.

“I don’t know… I think it’s from Rugrats. Maybe I should check.”

A few weeks later, I finally got around to a quick Google search. Mystery solved thanks to YouTube.

This post sponsored by Mountain Dew. Just kidding.

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Familia

Sonrisas

rubén “Can I hold him?” I asked Danny, my cousin.

“Yeah,” he gladly handed over Rubén, his 8 month old son. “My arm is getting tired. I think I’m even sweating.”

Rubén looked at me curiously. He looked down at the pendant hanging on a thin silver chain around my neck. With his chubby little fingers, he started pulling.

“No, papas, don’t pull that.” I got the pendant out of his tight grip and moved it out of his reach behind my neck. As I pulled my hair aside Rubén noticed my earrings and started touching them too.

“Oh no, papas,” I said. Rather than figure out just how hard an 8-month old can pull, I took out the earrings.

“He likes looking at stuff and seeing people,” Danny called out to me.

“Oh okay,” I said and walked with him around the house. His dark brown eyes darted back and forth as he checked out the paintings on the walls and family he rarely sees enjoying Mother’s Day. I took him to the sunny backyard where my uncles were seated. Rubén looked at them calmly. I tried to sit down, but he wasn’t having it, so I took him to see the fish tank in my grandparent’s room. On the way there, we passed Elsie and Danny. Rubén turned to his mom, smiled and then turned back toward me.

“He smiled and barely looked at me!” she said, surprised as we kept walking to the living room.

“You know,” Elsie began, “he doesn’t go with just anyone. And he definitely doesn’t smile with most people.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, he likes you. I think you have good chemistry with kids.”

“Maybe… or it could be that I just know how to make the boys smile,” I joked.

A few minutes later, Elsie and Danny started saying their goodbyes. As he gave me my goodbye hug, he said, “now we know who to call to babysit.”

I’d be down.

There’s nothing like a well-behaved baby to help me get my baby fix.

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Familia

Thanks, Mom

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you for being awesome, for supporting me in every endeavor, for working hard to give me a comfortable life (but not be wasteful), for teaching me to be a good person, for making me feel better, for being creative and artistic, for teaching me to never be ashamed of my roots, for standing up for me (even if I didn’t deserve it), for reading, for showing me the meaning of strength and faith, for always making such delicious food, for teaching me how to dress, and above all, for loving me unconditionally.

You’re the light in my life.

Love,

Cindy (aka your Favorite Daughter)

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