‘All Rise for the Judge–In an Executioner’s Mask

Today was a day for public service. So I drove 48 minutes to ‘nearby Orange’ to appear on a district court jury. The day began after assembling in a room where a television played ‘Ellen’, and then a documentary about a visit to Egypt. And Luxor. Some of us brought books, and nosed down in them. Others watched as Ellen playfully joshed with Jennifer Love Hewitt, while they both wore Halloween costumes. We watched a video that told us of the importance of our service, and how our justice system relied on it.

Then about fifteen minutes later, a court official arrived to tell us that there would be no trial. But that the judge wanted to speak to us in the courtroom. We assembled there, sat down, and then the sergeant at arms spoke. “All Rise for the Honorable Judge blah de blah.” And we rose. In walked a black robed judge wearing the green-rimmed executioner’s mask, black as death. “Who says judges can’t have fun? ” he laughed, pulling it off.

Then he said that after two dates, the witnesses can’t make it to speak against the accused, so he was dismissing the case. So we were back out and on the road soonafter.