You may heretofore refer to me as Madam Foreman. Hold on wait a second before you get your knickers in a twist. I wasn't actually elected for this auspicious position, I volunteered. Here's the thing, the coroner came in to do our orientation, and one of the first things he said was, "there are a couple of housekeeping issues we have to take care of. One, we need to select two alternate jurors. They will hear exactly the same evidence as everyone else and will deliberate with all of you, they just don't have to sign anything. If for some reason one of the main jurors cannot fulfill their role, than the alternate steps in and signs the decisions for them."
In other words, it's kind of like in the Miss America/Miss USA pageant if the winner is found to be pregnant, has posed for nude photos, is really a man in drag, etc. and cannot complete their reign, it's the runner-up's lucky day. Anyway, two folks immediately volunteered to be alternates, they seemed very happy not to have to sign anything. I on the other hand I had no desire to be an alternate, I mean if I have to be there all day anyway I wanted to be a full fledged juror, not some runner up.
Then the coroner says "the next order of business is to name a foreman. Any Volunteers"? Dead (pardon the pun) silence. "It is really very simple, you just have to read each verdict as you as a jury come to it during the day. Any Takers"? You guessed it, again, nothing, so, me being me and hating awkward silences as I do, say "oh, alright, I'll do it." To which the coroner says, "great Betsy is the foreman, so Betsy gets the blame." Whoa Nelly -- BLAMED, I don't remember that part of the description!
Couple of quick interesting tidbits before I continue. One, as strange as this sounds, I spent the entire day with 7 other people deciding the manner of passing of 11 other people and I don't know even 1 of the names of the other people I served with. We never asked each other. I can tell you certain things about each of them (ex. one had asthma, another married the women he fell in love with when he was 9 and has been married to her for 30 years, one was pregnant, one was a nurse, etc.), but a name -- I got nothing. Maybe that would have been too personal a connection to make on such an emotionally charged day. Two, you will be relieved to know that there was, in fact, a nicer jury room than the original holding cell. It was available to us all day and had free drinks. It wasn't quite as swanky as the one in the video, but beggars can't be choosers.
As the orientation continues the weight of the day and our obligation begins to dawn on me. Essentially, we rule on the manner of passing of the individual we hear about. What we say goes on the Death Certificate for all eternity. So when he said I get the blame, I now kind of understand. Family members are present, law enforcement is present and all of them want us to come back with the decision they want to hear. It was a humbling experience and in the end, I have to say I am grateful that I chose to be a key player and not sit on the sidelines. I am truly honored to have been part of this process. So, turns out that "Rescue Hero" Bailiff Lloyd knew what he was talking about after all.