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Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Summer" Doldrums

It's been 60 degrees inside our house mornings this week. Esther is not pleased. She likes to be wrapped up in this fleece blanket like a big burrito for her morning nap. "Why are you bugging me, mom? I'm chilly!" I've been breaking down and turning the furnace on.

We went to the Festival of Sail on Sunday to check out the Eagle, a sailing barque that my brother is going to meet up with in Panama City and sail through the Panama Canal and back up to their homeport of New London, CT. I told one of the crewmen (they are so young, they look like babies to me) that my brother was excited about joining them and he said that the Panama Canal is "interesting for about the first 15 minutes."

It' a very impressive tall ship. It looks even cooler under sail. There is a video of it coming in under the Golden Gate Bridge last week.

I snapped one shot of the cooks in the galley below dishing up some lunch. Looks like meatball sandwiches, mac and cheese and broccoli that had seen better days.

I didn't get to see the parade of ships coming in under the Golden Gate Bridge because I was doing my civic duty of being a juror for a criminal trial last week. I was even the foreperson of the jury! Nobody else was stepping up, and I wanted to move things along, so I decided, "What the heck?"

Real criminal trials are nothing like what you see in the movies or on tv. The courtrooms on even the most low budget shows look plush compared to the courtrooms in the SF Hall of Justice, which have seen better days. This was a gun possession case. This guy was stopped by the CHP in downtown San Francisco for not having a front license plate. They smelled alcohol on his breath so they asked him to step out of the vehicle and were doing a routine patdown and the guy told them he had a gun in his back pocket. Turns out it was loaded.

I thought it was difficult to decide the case because of the guy's story that he had just taken the gun from a 13 year old son of a friend of his in the projects and was on his way to dispose of it, which is an exemption from our concealed weapon law. There's no Judge Judy there to scream at him, "WHY didn't you put the gun in the trunk?" You're left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end because of so many things that are inadmissible or hearsay evidence. Standing back now, and reading what I just wrote, the story seems flimsy. But in the moment, I guess I get caught up in feeling bad about sending someone to jail and messing up their future, unless I feel certain that they really did something wrong.

On the bright side, I was lucky NOT to get picked for the jury for this trial, which was getting chosen the same week I was booked for jury duty. The Ramos case is about an illegal alien gang member who shot a father and his two sons and killed them for cutting him off in their car.

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