2007-02-10: Jury Duty


oldXander_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif

Summary: Ramon has been summoned for jury duty, and Xander is trying to select the jurors. Ramon asks for Xander's help.

Date It Happened: February 10th, 2007

Jury Duty

Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, New York City, NY

A jury is getting picked today, for a high profile murder case. Of course, none of the prospective jurors know this. What they know is that they might miss a lot of work and the six dollars a day they're going to get for doing their civic duty is not going to pay the bills. Some know they might lose their jobs over it. They know they've spent an unexciting three hours filling out questionnaires, being shuffled around, shoved into crowded hallways, and generally left to hurry up and wait. Now they're being pushed into the courtroom to sit down and be picked or eliminated or try to give their case to the judge as to why they shouldn't be on any kind of jury.

Juror #2 is Ramon Gomez. His mouth is set into a tight, grim, cynical line, and his eyes are narrowed and tight. Everything about him is stiff, tight, tense. He sits in the front row with his arms crossed, leaning back, somehow standing out among 40 other people through sheer intensity. The defense lawyer, Sissy Meyers, is over on her side, taking notes and whispering to her defendant. Its the DAs turn to quiz jurors and potentially use their right to strike. The honorable judge Dale Summers, a balding black man with a hint of paunch under his robes, presiding.

The defendant, Sam Woods, is accused of shooting Nancy Pulowski, age 44, in the middle of trying to rob her Upper East Side apartment. For his alleged murder, he walked out with $500.23 in cash, one small television worth approximately $60.00, an ancient computer worth maybe about $200.00, and some costume jewelry that looked valuable but actually is worth potentially $3.00 at a garage sale.

The prosecution for this case, representing the District Attorney's office, is one Alexander Weston Marx, Englishman, and it's noticeable from his accent. He is also very good at his job, knowing that justice can only be served by fair jury, and right now it was his job to eliminate any jurors who simply were not fit for this trial.

And now, having spoken to Juror #1, a young hispanic woman who spoke bad English, Xander calls up Juror #2, and looks upon Ramon with inquisitive eyes, looking to see if this man will make any mistakes, and greets with a bit of a smile, "Mr. Gomez… I've read your profile, and so far you seem promising… I do have a few questions for you though… You have written that you're… A single father, is that correct?"

His voice is a low growl as he says, "That's correct." His mouth seems to tighten still further, and his teeth grit a little bit. There's a furious set to his shoulders, but then…he wouldn't be the first juror to walk in with a little attitude. Though he also does something he's been doing all morning. Puts a hand to his head as if he's having a headache, or having trouble concentrating. When he does his eyes tighten with something other than attitude. Pain, maybe.

Xander nods a little, simply continuing with his line of questioning for now, "Single father… An unfortunate, and yet admirable position. You must have a great deal of love for your children…" He takes another glance at the forms he was given, quickly glancing at the profile, "How many children have you got? Any daughters? Sons?" He generally likes to interview the prospective jurors, before getting to the main quizzing.

"Two daughters, two sons." Ramon says, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket and apparently clenching them inside. He glowers around at his fellow jurors and then returns his attention to Xander. Only to look slowly over to the defendant, and then really look at him. A frown flits across his face, deepening the lines that are already there. He half shakes his head, and then he drags his attention back to the prosecutor.

Xander gazes at the older man, listening a bit to his answers, and watching the man's facial expressions, before asking one of the questions that would help in determining whether this man would be fit to be in the jury, "Are you comfortable, then, with leaving your children at home, while you're attending jury duty? You might end up with a long stay." At this moment, just as he asks that, he's thinking, ~Just says no, you'll be back home before you know it.~

Ramon stares at him. He stares at him like he's observing something very strange about the prosecuting attorney, something strange and important, and for a long minute he looks like he's forgotten to answer, or maybe like he didn't even hear the question. The words come out one at a time, a little bit oddly. "No, I'm not comfortable," says Juror #2.

Xander blinks for a moment as he watches the juror stare at him like that, and the arches an eyebrow when Ramon speaks, as he didn't actually expect the older gentlemen to give that answer, before asking, "Really? Why's that? Afraid the boys will get into trouble? I certainly don't expect your daughters will." ~Could he actually be trying to skimp out on his civic duty? Or maybe he loves those kids more than I thought…~

Anger tightens Ramon's features for a moment…and then he looks a little disoriented. He's suddenly watching Xander's mouth, like a hawk. His mouth, of all things. He forces his face back to neutrality and when he speaks his rumble is even. "My oldest son /is/ having some trouble. And we don't have a lot of other sources of income. But I'm not here to try to get out of my civic duty. I'm a man of honor. If serving turns out to be my duty, I'll do it. That said, yes, Mr. Prosecutor, kids /are/ my world." His eyes narrow in spite of his neutrality as he adds, "And justice is important."

The older gentleman's choice of words throw Xander off a bit more than he expected. ~How the bloody hell did he know I was…?~ His train of thought begins, before he cuts himself off and shakes his slightly confused expression away, "I never accused you of attempting to avoid Jury Duty, Mr. Gomez. In fact, I should think that would be the furthest thing from your mind. I agree with you, justice is of great importance." ~I've got a murderer to convict, justice had better be important enough to you.~

Xander's not the only one feeling a little confused, from the look on Ramon's face. Then the man simply seems to put whatever is confusing him to the side for the time being. Ramon nods. His speech is again slow as he allows, "No. No you didn't. And yes, it is the furthest thing." He stops watching Xander's mouth now, though his own sets into a grim, tight line as he stands there, waiting for more questions.

Xander gives Ramon another look, wanting to be sure of him, before asking, "Are you alright, Mr. Gomez? You seem distraught." ~What is going on with this man? Probably should let him off.~

Good question. That's what Ramon wants to dryly growl. What /is/ going on with him? Ramon realizes, though, that he can't exactly answer this question honestly. Well, Mr. Prosecutor, you keep saying two sets of things. One where your mouth moves, and one where it doesn't, and I'm noticing it loud and clear…no. He doesn't need the court sending social services to the crazy man's house. So he goes with the /other/ thing that is bothering him. "I feel I should tell you," he says, "That I believe my own wife was murdered. I don't know if it means that guy is guilty," he nods to the defendant, though he can't help but wonder what conversations /that/ guy would have with his mouth closed…"But if he is, I don't want there to be some sort of mistrial because I failed to say so."

When Mr. Gomez mentions that he believes his wife to have been murdered, Xander goes wide eyed for a moment, ~Murdered..?!~ He takes only half a moment to compose himself, as he replies, "I see… I'm sorry, Mr. Gomez, I had no idea…" He turns his gaze away, as he thinks, ~My father murdered… His wife murdered… And no true justice, is that it..?~ He seems to be hiding his anger.

Then, without a real warning, the building lights suddenly seem to flicker, like a big power surge, with two light bulbs popping in the back of the courtroom. Xander blinks and looks about towards the lights, which eventually return to normal. ~Not again…~ "Huh… The electric must need a looking at…" Before looking back to Ramon, "Thank you, Mr. Gomez, for your time. You're free to go."

"Thank you," Ramon says, staring at the lights. But the lights aren't the biggest thing out of what he's heard. He leaves the courthouse. But he doesn't go far. He sits on the steps of the thing, considering. Thinking it through. He recently gave a woman some advice. Examine situations as they are, not as you think they should be. So he sits, and he waits, watching the doors for Xander to come out. He'll sit and wait even if he has to wait all day. He's already called into work for the jury duty. His boss doesn't need to know he was dismissed at 11:00 in the morning. If he's crazy, he's just crazy. If he's /right/…then this can't be passed up.

Eventually, about an hour or so later, since Jury selection has a tendency to take an aggravatingly long time, Xander steps out of the courthouse, wearing his jacket and carrying his briefcase, and checks the time in order to be sure he's got enough time for lunch before heading back to the DA's office, and starts a walk down the steps, not really expecting anyone to be waiting for him.
Ramon stands up just as the man passes and says, "Mr. Marx." He paid attention when they were introducing the whole panel. He keeps his hands by his sides, out of his pockets, nonthreatening. His eyes are tight and his mouth is in a grim line. "I hope I am not alarming you, but I'd like a moment to speak to you now that you're done in court."

Xander blinks as he hears the older gentleman's voice, and turns to see Ramon come at him, and his first, most immediate thought was, ~What's -he- still doing here?~ Though out loud he politely replies, "Ah… No, not at all. I was just on my way to lunch. So long as I'm back at the district attorney's office by 2:30, I've plenty of time…" He does give the man his full attention, asking, "How can I help you, Mr… Gomez, was it?" ~Two hours of jury selection, you're lucky I remember you.~

"In the jury room," Ramon says, "I thought I heard you say your father was murdered, and you didn't get any justice for it." The weirdness in the courtroom is not his primary focus, if only because he's not sure how to handle it. "My wife — the ME's office, the police. They said she suicided. She did not suicide. Because we seem to have something in common, I came to simply ask you if you would find the time to look over the closed Catalina Gomez case. That's all I'm asking you to do. To just take a look, one day when you have a few moments."

Xander blinks, blinks, and blinks some more, as he takes a breath, trying to cool his head, as he's gritting his teeth, and repeating in his head, ~Stay calm, Xander, stay calm…~ "Mr. Gomez… I don't know how you came to know about my father's death, or that he was murdered… I most certainly didn't -tell you- about it…" He can then feel a few electrical sparks arcing across his left hand, which he moves behind his back, as he takes a breath. ~Calm down, Xander, the man just wants you to look at his wife's casefile…~

He soon takes another breath, as he seems to have calmed his anger down, "I'm sorry… My father's died only last year. I didn't think anyone in the United States was going to bring it up, much less know about it…" He then raises a finger, and continues, "Tell you what… I'll take a look at the file. I cannot make any garantees. -If- I discover anything, I'll call you first thing, but if I can't…" He looks into Ramon's eyes, while thinking, ~I hate saying this…~ "You'll have to accept the fact that she's gone… Go home, Mr. Gomez. You need some rest.."

Ramon stares at him for a long moment. Looking him in the eyes. He nods his head. "Thank you," he says. He starts to walk away. Then he stops. He has to know. He needs one more piece of verification. If this hadn't happened with his daughter…if he hadn't sometimes responded to thinks before people said them and always written it off as coincidence before…he might think that Xander was a ventriloquist who liked mucking with people's heads. But no. No, he can't think that and he can't write that off. But he does need to know. So he says, "Two hours of jury selection. I'm lucky you remember me." He hasn't turned away from Xander, not yet, so he watches for a moment, for any sign of reaction. Because he's sure he heard that too. Heard it, without the man's mouth moving a bit.

Xander had watches Ramon start walking away, and was about ready to turn about when the older man turned back to him, causing the lawyer to be a bit puzzled. But when the man speaks those words he had -thought- only a minute prior, he goes wide eyed a bit, just reaction enough for Ramon to need. ~How the -bloody- hell did he know I was thinking that?~ Xander turns his head from side to side, before asking, "Mr. Gomez… You should be thankful that I sympathize for your case…" Before turning, shaking his head, "Have a good day, Mr. Gomez…" ~And stop saying what I'm thinking…~

"I am. Very thankful." Now Ramon does walk away, shoving his hands in his pockets. His mouth forms a tight, thin line. There /was/ no mistaking that. Now what does he /do/ about it? And he nearly kicks himself. If that moment of verification cost Catalina…no. He doesn't think it will.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License