• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)



This story is a sequel to Jury Duty

Every pony has the right to be judged by a jury of their peers. Now all that has to happen is for a prosecutor and defense attorney to mutually agree on Luna as being a peer, and we can get this trial started!

...this may take a while.

(While this story is listed as a sequel, its only real connection to the previous tale is in theme, and so it can be read as a stand-alone.)

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 96 )

Having served on a jury once before, I found this interesting. Luna's delivery and storied past she hints at was exceptionally gratifying. Her recognizing the ancient item in the vending machine nearly caused me to choke to death, but I bare you no malice. 'Twas damn funny. The only thing I wish, and 'tis a small trifle, was I wished Vapor had some comeuppance, even if it were a non-canon omake.

Ah! So cute!

Also: is that a name pun I spy?

An excellent and superb return to form for the short Estee stories. There's world building, hints, and lovely little stories and tales that just quite haven't been told yet.

I'm almost waiting with anticipation for Jury Duty III-Jury Duty With A Vengeance when Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and Discord are all called in for jury duty. And, due to the universe hating them all, are all put on a jury.

The jury is for the trial of the Flim Flam Brothers.

Las Pegasus bet takers are going insane about exactly what will happen to the courtroom before the trial is over...

("Filled with ocean water and all the ponies turned into sea ponies" is at 18-to-1 odds currently.)

There was a line in front of the Inquiries window on that early morning, because there always was. Vapor could tell just how many ponies were in it just from the sounds of shuffling hooves added to lashing tails, and cared about none of it. Caring was no part of Procedure. But she did keep count: doing so told her just how many Forms she might be consulting. And so she knew there were currently forty-eight ponies in the line. Forty eight ponies who were, for the most part, rather unhappy about having to be ..........the courthouse at all, and nearly all of whom would be no happier after dealing with Vapor. It was Vapor's job to answer Inquiries, and the majority of Procedures dictated that she answer them with "No."

"in" or "at"
Line from Beetlejuice "Hey, I don't set policy. I just use it to grind people under."

There have been a number of former presidents (George W Bush springs to mind) who have been called to jury duty. Judges (for example) can be called and serve, but no sitting presidents that I know of have served. Yet. (A little research shows they *can* be, and have been called, but in those cases, the judge has been quick to issue a deferment until after their term of office has expired.)

And it is exceedingly nice for Vapor Lock to put all of the jury duty 'skips' onto one form for Princess Luna, because that way all Luna has to do is issue a pardon "For all crimes and civil penalties listed on the attached form" and be done with it.

Yeah... I kinda wanted someone to wring her neck.

Thank you for the laughs, Estee. This was great fun to read. :twilightsmile:

"The leftmost window. Third row. I recognize the brand."
Open confusion. "Oh?"
"I am not certain you understand."
"I recognize that brand because it existed prior to abeyance."
"It no longer exists."
They both stared at the wrapper for a while.
"...is it moving?" the mare finally asked.
"Not on its own. The little jumps are produced by doors opening and closing along the rows. Simple vibration."
"That's -- good..."
"However, should the glow shift to dark purple, run."

That and the above vending machine thing are comedy gold


Ohohoho... I have a brilliant plan... ;

SUE HER. The forms are discriminatory against alicorns. And draconequuses. And non-pony citizens. :3

Ha. This was great! Thanks for another entertaining read Estee!

Also, reading this after your blogs about jury duty experience has left me with only one conclusion. Unanimi is a pony version of you! I wonder if she has a pocket game about comic book heroes that she plays as well? Or if she takes the time to write interesting stories?


I totally forgot that food automats used to be a thing. It's been so long since I've seen one.

Stop making me feel old.

You can't sue Vapor Lock. She didn't write the forms or the procedures. You'd have to sue the Government.

8519123 Then, sue the government! Blatant discrimination against non-pony citizens...

And who do you think'll be filing the paperwork for the lawsuit?



That was a good one. Have you been summoned to jury duty recently? Because I feel a bit of ligering... lets say spite in the text.

But this story should have prooven to many ponies to reafirm their trust in the system, that noponie is too high placed to dodge a shitty day at jury dutty. That all in Equestria are equal on THAT front.

Neat details about the vending machines, including the Equestrian longer-than-tall design.

"her into the jury box immediately: others meant she had to wait"
"her into the jury box immediately; others meant she had to wait"?

Ah, thanks, ChudoJogurt!

(Um. There were definitely many good bits in this outside the vending machines for me, but that was the only one concentrated enough to jump into a comment, it seems; sorry. Still enjoyed the story!)

Yep, all of this sounds familiar. I remember when they asked my profession and I said software developer, one of the lawyers got this deer in the headlights look. I was out within fifteen minutes, and someone later told me that's basically on an informal shitlist.

It should be noted that England outlawed peremptory challenges for basically this exact reason. You can still be dismissed for actual bias, but you can't be challenged off because a sociologist says you're likely to go one way or the lawyer with the weaker case thinks you're too analytical to sell a bridge to.

The forms got updated when Twilight had to renew her library card, right?

Tune in next time to see what happens when Luna gets her taxes audited.

Thinking about it, the "convicted of a felony", would no doubt mean "by Equestria, or a nation with diplomatic recognition by Equestria". Some of the death sentences were, perhaps, by nations that are now part of EQ, or had treaties with EQ (defunct Griffin kingdoms, for example). But, were they formal sentences from a court? Even more importantly, does any written record survive? (Does mention in a folk song count?). The clerks in the archives are going to be busy, busy, busy.

Luna/Moon is undoubtedly guilty of treason, mass murder (+everything else her army did) & attempted regicide. BUT was she ever tried for those crimes? Or, was she simply exiled? Is "demonic posession" a valid defense? (Seems like it ought to be).

Moving on, in criminal cases they usually ask if you're related to a policeman. (or at least they do on TV & in books.) The idea being to see if you would be unduly influenced by police testimony. The guard obeys her & Celestia, of course. But, are they legally part of the guard? Commander in Chief, or whatever? Has she or Celestia ever been married to a Guard (or less formal equivalent relationship)?

Those fines. Celestia probably has the authority to wave them & Murdoch's would undoubtedly have a hisssy fit about nepotism if she does. To a certain extent, it's just a case of the government taking the money from 1 pocket & putting it in another. But, to what extent are the Princesses personal finances separate from the government's finances. IRL, it wasn't too long ago that the king simply paid for the national government out of their personal money. Estee's EQ doesn't seem to fully function that way, but just how much personal resources DOES Luna have? Is there a statute of limitations on this? Here in Arizona, the national government will only go after you for 7 years, but the state governent has no limit.

I can see Luna doing Community Service to pay those fines, or perhaps, serving time (good chance to review the prison system)

This was unexpectedly sweet.

It could also use a few more installments.

A strange blend of hilarious and tragic, from Vapor Lock to the theoretically edible piece of Luna's past to the strange answers that come from an immortal who's lived a full life when asked rote questions. But the ending was purely sweet and touching, and thankfully wasn't glowing in the near-ultraviolet.

I will say that my jury duty experience had more comfortable chairs and a lack of orientation films, though I did show up early in order to have my pick of the former. Plus a diner diagonal from the courthouse that I suspect gets at least fifteen percent of its business from potential jurors.

In any case, thank you for a most enjoyable story and a surprising lesson on the history of vending machines.

I was struggling to wrap my head around the concept of something like pre-Norman England having vending machines (who would use them? It's have to be only the rich...?)

And then I read the comment at the end and followed the wiki link.

As I often say, you learn something new every day.



Huh. Well, that's probably why they let me do it the one time I was called, then; I imagine I'd have been out the door as soon as looked at otherwise. (As one imagines that despite working a gardening job at the time, the engineering degree might have put them off...)

Vapor Lock has fallen into her mark, hasn't she?

Can anyone think of any alternatives to our jury system that avoid some of these pitfalls?

Surprisingly, I've never been summoned for jury duty.

My college roommate was, though. And when the mail service lost the letter and he didnt show up, they arrested him.

I've been summoned twice. Both times I've received exemptions.

I'm not sure whether or not that is better or worse for the potential lawyers who would have had to question me, seeing as I know "the law you won't ever be told" and I'm also smart enough to know to not mention that...

Here in Iceland we use a panel of judges (odd number). I'm not sure on the specifics, but I'm pretty sure neither lawyer gets any say in picking them. Though I'm not sure how that would scale up beyond a population of 1 million.

I was half expecting that to end with Celestia showing up at Vapor's desk for some reason or other...

The issue is that the jury is supposed to be unbiased. And bias is in the eye of the beholder.

Good lord there's two of us that remember them!!!?

I haven't either, and I feel like I might be one of the few people that actually wants to serve on a jury, no matter how long it takes to go through Procedures.

Yes, I'm probably crazy.

"I recognize that brand because it existed prior to abeyance."


"It no longer exists."

so...that bag of stuff has been sitting in that machine for nearly a thousand years?! :pinkiegasp:

"So you are saying," Luna tried, "that a system designed to allow a pony to be judged by their peers -- has instead produced something which counts on gathering the best possible collection of gullible idiots."

and THAT made me think of the book and movie "runaway jury", where two different people were trying to rig a jury from behind the scenes.
(the book involved someone suing Tobacco companies, the movie involved suing Gun manufacturers)

i served on a jury once.
someone was suing the local Electric company because a pole fell on his car.
we ended with a "hung jury" result, mainly because of one very stone-headed juror.
i get the feeling he only made it in because they had run out of Peremptory dismissals.
yes, they really dismissed that many potential jurors.

Love the way your princesses are still normal at heart despite being over a thousand years old. Not sure if that makes sense how I phrased it, but basically they always have this core of humility when they interact with the populace that makes them feel relatable.

That's definitely on display here. That Luna bothered to show up at all shows her willingness to meet ponies on their own level. I don't know whether to laugh at or feel sorry for Vapor Lock, she's an interesting one.

Love the little hints of backstory for the sisters. I wonder if the nation that tried to execute them was their old hometown rejecting them.

Unanimi was very endearing, even if her name is impossible to spell. She and Luna were so sweet at the end.

As her failure to serve jury duty was due to incarceration, she's in a weird legal position on whether she'd be eligible for fines or even jury duty at all. In most countries you're forbidden from serving if you've been convicted, but even for crimes against Equestria she wasn't really, so much as incarcerated without trial. The next part is that most countries prevent you from accumulating additional fees from failure to do outside stuff while you're imprisoned and physically cannot do so (essentially, debtor's prison laws). So If she wasn't outright forbidden, she'd be waived.

I'm pretty sure the public opinion would be somewhat forgiving of pardoning those fines even if they did apply. At some point legal processes have to involve people who aren't Vapor, and "locked in the fricking moon" is pretty good as excuses go.

England outlawed peremptory challenges (removing jurors without giving a reason). You can still be removed for actual bias, but not for just not being a gullible idiot, or because you're the same race as the defendant, etc.

Forms didn't try to have relationships with each other, at least until paper clips and staplers got involved.

You should write this shipfic.

Yes, a LOT depends on "was she convicted?" (& how does Equestria feel about 'tried in absentia'? (which was originally a small town in outer Yakyakistan)) or "just imprisoned"? In the USA, there is a statute of limitations on most offenses -but NOT murder. If there are still unserved indictments......

On the other hand, you can get credit for time served. This should be enough for almost any sentence, unless they are to be served consecutively, not concurrently. & Were there any post rebellion amnesties? Does "confined in/on the moon" count as prison time?" I see. Got any proof that you were confined in/on the moon?" "Your honor, I'd like to call the Royal Astrologer....." "He's been dead for 950 years." "That doesn't mean he can't testify. Show me the law that says that a pony loses their civil rights simply because they died. We contend that the Life Impaired are protected under the Equestrians With Disabilities Act...."
I can hear her lawyer now..."Honey, forget about the cruise I promised for our wedding anniversary. We're buying the biggest yatch they make -and an island to sail it to." Ever read the legal stuff in Bleak House (Dickens)? ".....the law is an ass, an idiot." (Mr Bumble). Truer words were seldom spoken, even by Dickens.

As someone who relatively recently had to put up with jury-duty-nonsense, I love this fic! Thanks for writing!

"Are you an adult?"

At this point the schadenfreude laiden, kafkaesque loving black hart of mine grew three sizes and lept for joy. Because I knew this was going right where I wished.

"Hi! It looks like you're trying to combine two unrelated forms into a loathsome amalgamation, fit to twist the minds of archivists into oblong shapes.

Would you like to reconsider?"

Hey, at least Luna and Unanimi made a friend today.

Hmmm, what if Unanimi has been summoned for jury duty so often that she now has a pretty good idea of which lawyers are good at their jobs and which aren't?

I enjoyed it. Been summoned twice myself. Never served, but I'd like to someday.

Incidentally, horses totally have arms.

There are tales of when a P-739 was stapled (not paper clipped, the scandal) to a B-442 and placed in a manilla folder. Some say that what happened in that dark, private place gave birth to the R-1181. Most refuse to admit that the bastard exists at all...

Up next: tax day, staring everybody's favorite Form Mare!

"331. it says on form wc-2453-C that you have not filed a proper tax return in... theres been a double stamping here. you will have to refile this form to allow me to address the issues with your tax returns."

My word, THANK you for this. A happy ending and I snorted and cackled in very undignified manners countless times. BRAVO MY FRIEND, BRAVO


I'm in the same boat, I'd want to at least be called, but I honestly have no expectation of it ever happening. Being a scientist and having a father who's a lawyer probably will knock me out in voir dire, but I'd still like to be called.

As for this story, I was so very excited when I noticed it while waiting for my lunch order that I couldn't stop talking about Estee's works in the car ride back to my office. As usual, an excellent examination of the "Systems" of Equestria and how ponies just happen to live there.

I wonder if Luna knows Haycartes' Method, or if it works when the destination document is a form. That might be the only way to get Ms. Lock (Ms. Vapor*?) to see the pony in front of her.

*Possibly suggesting a relative of a certain Wonderbolts cadet? A great aunt who never married, possibly came close, but was burned by something very much like the Caramel Experience?

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