In the middle of everything, the computers of Alameda County grind on. Unsupervised, or just automated, the printer is spewing out Jury Duty summons. I received one last month, but the courts shut down before my report date. George received his summons on Monday. As I remember correctly, he was in the hospital last fall when his number came up. He called them and explained that 1) bone marrow transplant in hospital 2) house bound for a minimum of 100 days afterwards 3) recommendations for avoidance of extremely close quarters for at least six months. No problems, they would take him off the list permanently for medical.
And another summons shows up.
Perhaps they are leaning forward and hoping that the courts will be back open next month. Not. Going. To. Happen. The best modeling predicts things are going to be extremely ugly right about then. And, in any case, there is no way that he should take that kind of risk. Not unless the judicial system can go to Zoom courts…
Think about it – Anything that doesn’t require physically passing something around could be done by Zoom/GoToMeeting or one of the other softwares that link people in video conferencing. Certainly the courts could easily blow through all of the traffic tickets that way without requiring personal appearances. Effective use of both court and law enforcement time. For that matter, it would mean that people would not have to waste an entire day sitting on a bench just in case their number comes up.
Right to a trial by your peers? Ok. Where does it say that those peers have to be in the same room with you? Where does it say that you have the right to reach out and touch someone? If we can manage to support thousands of people through tele-medicine, why can’t we think ahead and set up tele-courts?
And before anyone goes down the rabbit hole about advantages to the wealthy and disadvantage to those of age, color, or poverty – exactly who do we think is tying up the court system (outside of family court) right now? It isn’t grandma on her old age pension, it is the dude with money. It is the larger landlords who have the money to evict their tenants, it is the insurance companies that would rather fight than pay claims.
But anyway…I am thinking of the waste of computer time, paper, ink, postal services for something that can’t happen next month. And this just may be symptomatic of all those automatic systems in place. The ones that let us do dumb things more quickly….
Meanwhile, “the paper” grinds slowly on. Miriam continues to build webpages as part of her “work remotely,” Shana is being the demo model for the local BAR Method’s move to Zoom Classes. Noah is on his way back to San Diego as he has lab classes when the quarter resumes next week. Angel is hard at work – more than half the staff where he works are now either out or gone and people want bagels, Alex is putting together some on-line activities for groups of JCC kids now locked down at home, Dani’s work is shut down – so she is hunting for on-line employment.
As the numbers today went over ½ a million that have tested positive, the curve is slowing only in a few locations. The US has passed Italy for total number of cases. Both Italy and Switzerland are reporting over 1000 cases per million inhabitants; and not everyone who is ill is getting tested. I think that is lot more realistic. California is still lagging hugely in testing, Ignorance doesn’t help; in my area it leads to complacencies.