Jon Regardie of the Downtown News writes this week about his recent jury duty, which took him to a dreary brick building on San Fernando Road in Cypress Park that serves as the county’s Mental Health Courthouse. This part of the L.A. County Superior Court on San Fernando Road near Alice Street is where juries hear cases involving conservatorship and “severe emotional problems for which they are unable or unwilling to seek voluntary care.” Regardie said that he and other potential jurors did not know what to expect when they learned of their assignment:
I know what you’re thinking: You’ve never heard of the Mental Health Courthouse. You had no idea such a thing exists. It was the same for everyone in our group. Driving by the facility, you’d never notice it. Slugged on a gritty stretch near auto body shops and across from a Metrolink repair yard, it’s about as appealing as, well, an auto body shop. Since I like to say nice things, I can state that, from the outside, it’s definitely slightly nicer than a crack house.
Our confused crowd entered a hot waiting room with 10 fewer chairs than people. Finally we were led to a nondescript courtroom. A dozen of us were called to the jury box. I was number 12.
Regardie was assigned to a case where a man was trying to win his independence from his son. Unlike the downtown courthouses, there are no restaurants nearby. On the positive side, for jurors, the trials begin at 1:30 p.m., Regardie said.