I needed a little break to rest and reflect after my duties as juror numero tres. Who would have thought that I would be so emotionally drained by this case?
And now that the trial is over I can share some of the details of the case. It was a dispute between a group of tenants (who live in low-income housing in a bad neighborhood of South Central LA) and their landlord. To make a long story short, the tenants were in the midst of a rent strike, demanding that they pay only half of their rent until the landlord fixes all of the major problems of their dilapidated home. Problems include roach infestation, broken windows and bad plumbing. While the landlord claimed that all complaints were addressed and fixed - they demanded full rent payment or eviction.
We essentially were determining whether or not these families would keep their homes or be kicked out into the streets. And we faced these families every day we were there.
In the end, we unanimously sided with the tenants (or the defendants) due to recent proof of roach and vermin infestation still lurking in their homes. And as a result the courtroom was relieved, filled with joy and tears from our final verdict. All 12 of us walked away happy for these families. Yet, we were still in disbelief that families as large as these were living in such poor living conditions and maintain to fight to stay in this place. It for sure opened up my eyes and made me very grateful for the life I have been blessed and given.
Here were other key takeaways from my brief stint in court:
- Jury duty ain't that bad! Obviously I was really irritated at first to be chosen, but in the end, I met some new and interesting people (in a good way).
- BASTA is a group that is doing great things for low income families
- My job appears to be superficial compared to the others I have met this week. Being in the "real world" beyond the scope of my fashion world, people have careers that make an impact in this world and change people's lives. They are either fighting for rights, curing cancer, or helping the city. I wish I could give more to help others.
- I gained a large respect for judges and attorneys. No way I would have survived law school! My little pea brain could not retain the number of laws out there, more so exploit them in your favor.
- I stumbled upon the shortest railway in the world, Angels Flight, during my lunch break. Such a fun little gem in down town LA.
Photo via here