By Judy Berman
Few things can speed up your pulse quicker than jogging, a one-third-off sale on designer jeans, or an order to appear in court.
I, of course, got the latter.
Imagine my surprise! I was being fined $25 for failing to license my dog. Only one problem – I didn’t have a dog.
Our neighbor called to tell us that she saw a summons had just been taped to our front door. I wondered how she could tell from that distance that it was a summons. One look outside explained it all.
There, prominently displayed was a summons nearly the size of a billboard. Discreet! I ripped it off the door and slinked back inside our house.
Should I contact the best criminal lawyer in town?
Judging from a scenario in the suspense thriller, “Runaway Jury,” that doesn’t appear to be the go-to option. Gene Hackman (as Rankin Fitch) is a ruthless jury consultant who will do anything to win in a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.
Hackman sums it up this way: “Trials are too important to be left up to juries.”
Despite the millions spent, there is a hitch, as Hackman battles Dustin Hoffman (as attorney Wendell Rohr) for the hearts and verdict of the jurors.
A juror on the inside, John Cusack (as Nicholas Easter), and a woman on the outside, Rachel Weisz (as Marlee), conspire to manipulate the outcome.
The tension in this film pales compared to my own dilemma. It appears the odds are stacked against me.
So, should I ignore the summons? I began to visualize the following scenario … (key daydream sequence gone awry).
I return to our neighborhood after a blissful afternoon of window-shopping. The block has been cordoned off. Patrol cars are lining the street in front of our home. A hail of bullets is riddling our home, and a cop is on the bullhorn shouting, “All right, scofflaw, come on out. We know you’re in there.”
I’d been the victim of a computer foul-up before. So, I debated with myself: Should I retaliate? After all, it was the principle of the thing. They’d besmirched the family name.
Briefly, I weighed the odds of challenging not only the bureaucracy, but a computer as well.
Only one question nagged at me.
Should I plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy of the court?
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Photo: Gene Hackman as ruthless jury consultant, Rankin Fitch, in the movie “Runaway Jury” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rankin_Fitch_from_Runaway_Jury.jpg
Photo: John Cusack as juror Nicholas Easter in “Runaway Jury” http://www.fanpop.com/spots/john-cusack/images/8609499/title/runaway-jury-photo
Video clip: “Runaway Jury” – trailer