Los Angeles

On the record

It was the last day of jury duty. We, the jurors, deliberated for a little over an hour and then called the bailiff to let her know we’d come to a decision. Half an hour later, all attorneys and defendants were ready for us to file out in to the jury box.

As we took our seats, the judge noted, “let the record show that all jurors and alternates are present… and one die hard Laker fan.”

The courtroom broke out into nervous laughter.

“Is that on the record?” juror #3, sitting directly to my right, asked.

“Yes,” the judge responded with a boyish smile.

That was it for the jokes and we got to business.


I sat next to juror #3, a tall, athletic Afro-Panamanian in his 60s, for our nine day stint on jury duty. I never learned his name, but did learn a lot about him. After seeing the Panamanian flag hanging from his rear-view mirror and learning he didn’t need to listen to the court-appointed interpreter to understand the testimony of a Spanish-speaking witness, I figured out he was from Panama. He passed out shiny purple and gold fliers and told the rest of the jury about his tax preparation business. The office doubled as a museum housing his Laker gear. Yes, he gave tours.

Oh yeah, he was diehard Laker fan. It’s on the record!

He distinguished himself from fair-weather fans (*raises hand*) by asserting that he was a Laker fan even during their slump in the 60s. But he didn’t have to say anything. His zealousness was clear.

Every single day he wore Laker gear from head to toe. Yes, even shoes. The cap came off only while in court. He always read the sports section for the latest news and analysis on the Lakers’ playoff run. If he forgot sports section, he’d ask to borrow mine. He had two flags — ubiquitous during the Lakers’ 3-peat in 2000, 2001, and 2002 — on his car. I suspect they never came off during the off-season or even the regular season.


I wonder if juror #3, felt sick after tonight’s game.

I know I did.


8 thoughts on “On the record

  1. Is that common with all Judges? When I did my jury duty, the judge also joked about me being the ONLY Mets fan in the room as the rest were all Yankee fans. The judge himself was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan which would explain why he singled me out.


  2. During the first half, while they were ahead by so much, I was surfing the web, responding to email. Not quite ready to call the game in our favor but feeling pretty good that the Lakers had come to win.

    And, ugh. It got so ugly I was forced to stop doing everything else and concentrate on the wreckage. The last 48 seconds? Couldn’t bring myself to watch it. Had to change the channel. Yes, I felt ill afterwards.

    On the record … a story from my last job: a youth with a low IQ came before the judge for being involved in all sorts of things that the police and judges tend to frown upon. Upon seeing the boy’s IQ the judge said, quite surprised, “55?!? My god, that’s retarded!”

    Lovely. I often wonder if a stenographer’s fingers ever hesitate when something like that happens or do you think they’re so skilled and trained that they just type without actually taking in the words?

  3. I’m not much of a basketball fan, but I always support my hometown teams. Bruins, Lakers, Dodgers, Angels in a pinch, but never, ever the Trojans (I just can’t do it). I was at dinner with a friend at a taqueria here in Berkeley last night when the crawl at the bottom of a tv screen showing an MLS game had the Lakers up by 20. The next time I saw the score, it was only a three-point spread. The moment I got home and flipped on the tube, Boston took the lead.

    I spent most of those last five minutes yelling at the tv about rebounds and fouls. I’m definitely my father’s daughter.

  4. chispa says:

    oh well. better luck next time. i had jury duty this week but was excused by the defense because i knew the d.a. 😛

  5. chidolitis says:

    It sucks because up here, all the people I know are Celtics fans and I’m the only Laker fan. They’re always talking shit. And its like, “C’mon I don’t hate on the Warriors! Californians gotsta stick together!” They dont buy it, and the loss just makes me that much more angry, because in talking shit about L.A. Its like they’re talking shit about me.

  6. Pingback: Lotería Chicana » Blog Archive » Nine for November

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