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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jury duty...

Jury Duty is one of the responsibilities of being a member of our society. It may be inconvenient and feel like an intrusion on our life, but it is necessary. Anyone chosen for the jury duty process of selection should take the event seriously. The following was overheard as I waited for to be granted entrance into the courtroom. People were being screened through the metal detector. There were two bailiffs involved in the procedure.

First Bailiff: “Are you drunk?”
Potential Juror: “No. I’m Ashley.” She held out a very shaky hand to the Bailiff, but he rebuffed the salutation. Ms Ashley’s mother stood next to her with a support hand at the back center of her daughter’s waist. She would have been voted as the best dressed juror in comparison to the other candidates. She wore a beautiful blue knit dress with a leather belt in the same color blue. Her hair looked as though she had just come from the beauty salon. Her makeup was flawlessly applied yet subtle. She could have been a politician’s wife on the campaign trail. But the swaying and shaking of her body told a tell that the togetherness of her exterior did not match her interior.  
Second Bailiff: “What’s in your drinking glass, Ms. Ashley?”

Ms Ashley: “It’s OK. It’s just water.”
Second Bailiff: “You won’t be able to take that glass into the courtroom.”

Ms Ashley: “It’s OK. It’s just water.”
Ms Ashley walked away (with the aide of her mother) tottering on her high heels.

First Bailiff to Second Bailiff: “We’ll have to do a breathalyzer on her. She’s smelly of the stuff.”
Second Bailiff to First Bailiff: “I agree. Let’s get a female officer down here.”

About ten minutes later, a female officer arrived and there was a conversation about what would happen if the results were over the legal limit. She would be arrested. They spoke quietly, but the small lobby made it impossible to carry on a private conversation.
Riley looked up at me and said, “So what if she’s been drinking. It doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be a good juror.” I proceeded to explain to him that jurors in to be in a clear state of mind so that they would understand the facts of the case presented. “It’s not illegal to drink,” he said. “So she’s had a few. It’s OK.” I didn’t respond.

Now that the posse had been assembled and measures / counter-measures were in place, the First Bailiff went outside to find Ms Ashley. She was not there, but her mother was. Her mother explained that she only had that odor because she had been drinking constantly over the past three weeks. But, she had not been drinking that morning and therefore she was not drunk. The First Bailiff explained that she could not be allowed into the courtroom if she was above the legal limit on the test.
Ms Ashley appeared from the ladies room and said she had no idea why they would want to do a breathalyzer on her. Her comment was directed to an innocent, handsome, male by-stander. “Are you kidding me??? You reek of a distillery!” He exclaimed and then walked away from her. She muttered “Asshole” under her breath, but everyone in the lobby could still hear her.

The posse came over to her and said they needed to take the test. Ms Ashley informed them that she did not want to take the test, but would speak to her attorney who just happened to be in court that day. The lawyer came from around the corner where Ms Ashley stopped him and told him she did not want to take the test. The lawyer shared a few words with the bailiffs. It took less than five minutes for the lawyer to turn right back around and tell Ms Ashley to wait an hour or so and then take the test. She left to go outside to have a cigarette.
It was about 30 minutes later when the lawyer came up to the bailiffs and asked if they had gone ahead and taken her into custody. They told him no. He said he could not find Ms Ashley or her mother anywhere on the grounds. Someone in the background said – “She said she was leaving. She said she wasn’t going to stick around for this bull shit, got in her car and drove off. She wouldn’t let her mother drive. They were arguing.” The bailiff’s thakedn the informant and then notified the police of a potential drunk driver by the name of Ashley etc., etc.

I don’t know what happened to the woman and her mother. Shortly after all the drama, we were informed that we could all go home. Well, it was an entertaining morning anyway.
I wonder how many people show up for court appearances while they are still in the midst of foggy-mindedness. I bet it is more than I had ever anticipated. The thought of being a defendant with the question of my freedom on the line – and having my fate determined by someone who obviously is not of sound mind – is more than irritating, it’s downright frightful.

Should all jurors be given a breathalyzer before entering the courtroom? It seems logical to me. On the other hand, it could be construed as a violation of a person’s civil rights.  After all, an occasional drink in the morning doesn’t make you an alcoholic. Or does it?
For me, it’s not so much about determining if a person is an alcoholic. It’s more about having the good sense NOT to drink when you know you will be in a situation of having power over another person’s life. If I were on trial, I would prefer all my jurors be blessed with sound judgment and sober minds.

11 comments:

Syd said...

Society seems to be enamored with drinking. Recently, this city was voted no 4 in the country in terms of booziness. Not a great thing considering it is also the most mannerly and one of the most beautiful. But the liquor flows freely here and everyone seems to like to drink.

msterfun said...

I'd rather be judged by a drunk than passed on the highway by one.

Anonymous said...


I abhor all alcoholics. I keep myself at a far distance from them even if they are sober. The AA crew are the worst because it still seems to be about them and the booze and about their "not drinking". I think the "disease concept" is just an excuse to rationalize their abusive and immoral behavior. They become their own god and expect everyone else around them to fall down and worship them and cater to their every need. And defend their "reputation". The fragile male ego. I'll pass. It took me while to figure it out but drunk or sober they still act the same way. Mean people. Liars.

Abuse can be disguised if everyone else is doing it. Analyzing abuse and dysfunctional behavior does not change anything. In psyco babble terms I think that is called denial. Living a lie. The longer I am away from the alkie exhusband the better I feel. It makes sense...I am no longer being abused. People who allow themselves to be around abusers will be abused. There is no excuse for abuse. I left it all. I can only pray that God take away the rage that still "bubbles up" at times. I have better things in my life to do than "train" a man how to behave. I had dogs who were better behaved than the alkie exhusband.

In my opinion alcoholics are the devil personified. And they are not welcome in my life...sober or not.
When the alkie exhusband tries to get back into my life I imagine going to the local mental institution and picking a nutcase from the patient list and bringing him into my home to "care" for him. How pathetic. Just does not work for me. They can lay in the gutter in their vomit and feces for all I care. It would be like bringing a dog with rabies into my home. LOL. Too bad my tax dollars support them in the form of Medicare when they get hauled off to the hospital with their alcohol induced injuries and diseases but there is nothing I can do about that.

Since the mind is not a physical organ, it cannot have a disease. A disease is something you have, behavior is something you do.

FROM QUIVERING DAUGHTERS

"It is a grave disservice to the heart, soul, body and spirit of a woman when she is given the subtle message that the truth of her own pain is not as important as the reputation of the ones who inflict it."

Md Rajon said...

hi

Anonymous said...

I'm a frequent "lurker" on this site, but I'm glad to see that someone else has my same take on AA, even though my perspective is from the one of the addict. Honestly, I'd feel more of a compulsion to drink after an AA meeting because all they ever talked about was what a struggle and challenge it was to live an alcohol-free life. Well, if that's what you're fixated on, it is going to be difficult. I chose to get a life, cultivate some hobbies (I usually drank out of boredom) and change my personal habits and routines so that alcohol is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. There are a few difficult days here and there, but most of the time, it isn't so bad.

AlcoholismsChild said...

Wow! Scary story. My first thought was the same as msterfun's. So many situations where inebriation can be incredibly dangerous.

As for your comment on if a drink in the AM = alcoholism? My aunt (who is a substance abuse counselor) says alcoholism and 'social drinking' are defined by consequences. If 9x out of 10 your drinking leads to negative consequences, then it's alcoholism. If you're just out once a week and know your limits, its social drinking. I think in Ashley's case, it's probably the former rather than latter.

oliver said...

Did Riley get picked for the jury? A friend and I--Riley's old roommate in on Alray Drive were just musing that Riley's statement that she can do a good job even though she is drunk, is not off base. In fact, Riley is a prime example of this and a prodigy of service, drunk or sober. Glad to hear that he is a alive and kicking, but I am concerned that this "end stage alcoholic" seems to be dragging out. Kidding of course.

The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Oliver -- How nice to hear from you and the gang! Riley was not called for jury duty. We were there on another matter.

I don't share your opinion that someone drunk can be objective when sitting in a jury box. But, that's just me.

Riley is still kicking and he is sober. However it is only because since he was released from hospice, I haven't made any alochol available. I know he will find a way. I just won't make it easy for him.

Hope everyone there is doing well. Please drop me an e-mail to immortalalcoholic@gmail.com. Then I'll send my phone number.

Linda

The Immortal Alcoholic's Wife said...

Oliver -- How nice to hear from you and the gang! Riley was not called for jury duty. We were there on another matter.

I don't share your opinion that someone drunk can be objective when sitting in a jury box. But, that's just me.

Riley is still kicking and he is sober. However it is only because since he was released from hospice, I haven't made any alochol available. I know he will find a way. I just won't make it easy for him.

Hope everyone there is doing well. Please drop me an e-mail to immortalalcoholic@gmail.com. Then I'll send my phone number.

Linda

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