I just finished serving on the jury of a manslaughter trial. Prior to this, the closest I had gotten to a courtroom (since testifying in a civil case as a teenager) was sitting in the potential jurors area smoothing out the wrinkles in my Yoda costume. A jury of my peers always seemed like a group of 12 people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty in time for Judge Judy

Apparently, I am now one of those idiots. And I have to tell you, I’m a happier person for it; because I saw, firsthand, how well the system can work.

My jury was a group of thoughtful, albeit poorly dressed, individuals of all ages and from all walks of life. We took the three charges against this man very seriously, and deliberated vigorously and with passion. And when we acquitted him on all three counts and I was able to make it to Palm Springs in time for a Jennifer Holliday concert, I celebrated the judicial system of this great country of ours.

Don’t get me wrong, nobody was trying to make quick work of a man’s fate because they had a facial. The day ends at 4:00 p.m., whether you’re ready to stop deliberating or not. Which leads me to my one criticism of the courts of Los Angeles: what’s with the 10:30-4:00 schedule?

It’s no wonder the system is so backed up. I’d have been up for 8:00-5:00 days, since that’s still at least two hours shorter than my typical work day. Granted, the time can drag a little when you’re sitting there watching them mark evidence and go over the same points of fact time and again (there’s an awful lot of procedural rules apparently left over from the powdered wig era), but hey, toss us some Red Bull’s and let’s move this thing along.

It’s not like anybody on our jury was falling asleep, anyway – they had the air conditioning in there cranked so high you could cure meats. It was 90 degrees outside and I had to carry a parka into the building. Besides, when you get to the juicy stuff – this case was actually quite tragic in its events – it’s like a real life Law & Order with higher stakes and shorter commercial breaks.

The gentleman facing these charges had already been through a year of hell, had probably spent $50,000 on his defense, all because of an event he had not instigated but had been an unwitting part of. So why drag out the case even longer with these Barbie-sized work days? Do judges bartend on the side and need time to remove the robe before Happy Hour?

Most of the people involved in the legal system – attorneys, judges, court reporters – are quite well-compensated. Would it be too much to ask for them to work the kind of hours normal adults do? If court days were longer, we could cram a lot more cases through the pipeline, and then more people could sue each other for stuff than ever before.