He did a good job, giving people their say even if they made little sense or became argumentative, and he frequently polled the jury to monitor the guilty/not-guilty votes.
On the third day, he stopped at the metal detector inside the courthouse door and emptied his pockets—wallet, phone, keys, pens, change. He heard no alarm, but a hulking deputy blocked his path.
“I need to search you physically.”
“You set off the machine.”
“I didn’t hear it go off. And anyway, what could it be? I’ve taken all the coins and other metal objects out of my pockets.”
The deputy, tall and broad, grabbed Jimmy’s shoulders and spun him around. Then the big guy clutched Jimmy’s sport coat collar with one hand and pulled him backward so he was off balance, standing only on his heels. Then the cop began patting and squeezing Jimmy’s pockets—pants, shirt, sport coat inside and out—presumably searching for contraband.
The deputy even felt inside his tie and up and down his legs on the outside and then inside up to his crotch, ending the latter swipe with a swift clasp with his fingertips and the heel of his hand. Then the guy asked Jimmy to kick off his loafers; the deputy picked them up, turned them over, and shook them. Nothing fell out.
“Okay.” The deputy, apparently satisfied, motioned for Jimmy to put his shoes back on, gather up his belongings, and walk past the checkpoint.
Jimmy lost his temper.
“Hey. I’m here to do my civic duty and you and I both know the machine didn’t go off.”
“I don’t care why you’re here, bud. But it sure enough went off.”
“I didn’t hear it beep and you know damn well I didn’t have anything on me that could have set it off.”
“It could have been anything—maybe a dime we didn’t find or maybe the buttons on your coat.”
Jimmy knew this was bullshit. He also knew the deputy was huge and he didn’t want to end up slapped against the wall with his wrists in cuffs. So he shut up. But his attitude had changed. He no longer cared about the case his jury was hearing. Instead he began wondering how he might sabotage it.
As Jimmy walked up the stairs to the jury room, a plan formed. In previous polls, he’d voted the accused guilty, as had almost everybody else—it was a murder case.
That morning he immediately polled the jury. The other eleven voted guilty. Jimmy changed his vote to not guilty and held out through eight hours of deliberation and the following day as well. Finally, the judge declared a mistrial, which set the accused free. The prosecution would have to start over if they wanted to get the murderer off the street.
Jimmy avoided the reporters.