Skip to main content

Grand Jury Service

Grand jury


This article first appeared in the Summer 1996 edition of the Bicycle Habitat newsletter.


Grand Jury service: Or, what it takes to get a salary:
by Charlie McCorkel

Recently, I served on the Brooklyn Grand Jury. The Grand Jury is different from regular jury service: in Grand Jury you serve for 20 days and each day is a parade of cases. In order to indict a person on felony charges, it is necessary to get the Grand Jury to vote for the indictment.

Bicycle crime: surprisingly major stuff during my jury service

In my 20 days I saw 130 cases. Of these, two involved police officers on bikes, one involved the theft of a bicycle from people riding them, and in six others, bicycles were mentioned by the police or witnesses as part of the crime, i.e., "He bicycled up behind me and grabbed my purse." I was absolutely amazed that 7% of the cases the came before us involved bicycles.

There are 23 members of a Grand Jury. Two of the Jurors in my room soon resigned because of family responsibilities. This left us with 21, and two of us were bike commuters. So here, in a randomly selected group of 21 people, 10% of us were bike commuters. My commute was 5 miles each way - the other commuter traveled 6-1/2 miles.

The pay at Grand Jury was $15 per day and $3 for transportation. This is only the third time in my life I have actually been paid to ride, and it feels great! Due to extensions on the cases we handled, my service will probably run to 35 days, so it looks like I'll make $105 commuting by bike this year. I guess the makes me a Professional Bicycle Commuter.

Bicycle will hear the evidence now

Parking my bicycle is always a concern to me and I was pleased to see the Municipal lot at Atlantic and Court had a bicycle rack very close to the attendant. Of course, this was four blocks from the courts, and if I'm riding I'm not parking four blocks away. Fortunately, there are very good parking fences in the Part at the courts. Most of the time I use my trusty Kryptonite chain and lock to secure my bike, however, there were days when I forgot my lock or it looked like rain and I didn't want to leave my bike outside. On those days I would marshal my assertiveness and walk my bike past the security guards and into the jury room. One warden commented that I may have been the only juror to ever park his bike in the Jury room.

Fingers still in tact... all ten of 'em !

The last part of my tale involves the hole in my pocket through which both of my lock keys fell. Yes, I know, always separate your keys and make a note of the number in case you lose them. I didn't listen to the advice I give out several times a day and I was now faced with the inevitable task of getting the best lock around off my bike. I started by calling locksmiths. In the course of the 24 hours I dealt with three locksmiths who thought they could free my bike.

The first one to show up looked at the lock, looked at me, grunted, and left.

The second one tried to pick it and then attacked it with a punch and a visegrip (used as a hammer). I almost bust a gut trying not to laugh. This was pathetic.

The third one tried a belt cutter, chipped it, and told me to find a welder who makes house calls.

Of course, it was Hal, our ace mechanic and lock breaker extraordinaire, with 200 feet of extension cord and carborundum grinding wheel who set my bike free. It took 10 minutes, much noise and sparks flying 20 feet in the air to do the job and the best part was that we had all our fingers when we finished.