What I did on jury duty

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"It was really just luck of the draw," jury clerk Faye Henderson told me. "We look at people's zip codes when we look for people to send out to the J.P. courts, and you had an Oak Cliff zip code. So you were sent out there."

Still, Henderson and I figured the odds of my getting assigned to Jones were pretty small. The county had mailed 1,900 summonses for jury duty that day. Of that number, 415 people showed up to serve (the rest either had bad addresses, or weren't citizens, or had felony records, or simply took an exemption or a powder.)

Of the 415 of us who showed, 60 of us went to justice-of-the-peace courts out in the hinterlands, 36 of us to three Oak Cliff courts. Of those three courts, Jones' was the least likely to get me because it was the farthest from my home.

It was an insanely busy day for the jury clerks. In fact, they ran out of jurors by 11 a.m. and had to start calling in standbys.

And while those standbys were getting those calls, I was sitting out in South Oak Cliff in a court that didn't need me with a judge who pretty much screws up everything he touches.

All because of the magic of zip codes. "See, nobody was picking on you," Henderson told me.

She was right. But somebody up there sure was picking on Thomas Jones.

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Laura Miller