Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlton: The politics of jury duty, pontificating and Prince

If you think only working stiffs and people without courthouse connections get stuck with jury duty, consider this:

Among the Hillsborough County citizens summoned to show up Monday morning is Mark Ober, who would have to take the day off from being the state attorney.

You know, the elected official responsible for the criminal charges faced by people going on trial.

One could assume Ober would have a pretty good excuse for ducking jury duty — not to mention some useful courthouse connections.

Oh, but there's plenty of justice to go around —and lots of civil matters in need of a jury even though they involve neither a crime nor a state attorney.

Said Ober about Monday morning: "I look forward to it."

Here is a story I like about the duty part of jury duty. Back when she was running for Tampa mayor in 1995, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt got a jury summons for the day before the election — traditionally an important last chance for a candidate to shake hands and wave campaign signs.

Did Platt get out of jury duty? Have it postponed? Call in a favor?

A squeaky-clean Girl Scout of a politician, she did not. She sat on a marble courthouse bench as the politicking went on without her. "I have never asked to be excused in the past, and I do not intend to ask to be excused this time," she said Plattishly. She lost to the popular Dick Greco.

And good for her. Inconvenient and often boring, jury duty is still the only shot we have at anything vaguely resembling justice. It works only if citizens — all kinds of citizens — show up.

Ask Gov. Rick Scott about anything — hurricane predictions, the Rays' slump — and he will tell you the answer is:

Jobs.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. It is his mantra, his one note, his method for deflecting question and criticism: Jobs.

So it is no surprise that when Scott comes to rally the crowds for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week, his topic will be … jobs.

Attorney General Pam Bondi is also speaking. Her subject is law enforcement, a topic indeed related to her job.

She is an interesting choice. Well-known and telegenic, she is also controversial, given the eyebrows raised over her soliciting a $25,000 campaign contribution from Trump around the time citizens had lodged complaints about Trump University. Her office did not open an investigation and told consumers to contact New York, which was looking into it. And no, it's not in next week's talking points.

Kids from some of Tampa's toughest neighborhoods took a field trip downtown this week and ended up in Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office, with its sofa, fireplace and bookshelves, and photos of the mayor grinning with no less than Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

Also impressive is a poster of the mayor firing a big machine gun from the deck of a military combat boat during a special ops exercise.

Apparently, the mayor said later, the kids had been told he was someone important.

So one of them had a question for him.

Did he know Prince?

Sue Carlton can be reached at [email protected]

Carlton: The politics of jury duty, pontificating and Prince 07/15/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2016 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.