Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not as easy as I thought

Just got home from a 4 day stint on US District Court Jury Duty.

No need to go into the case, etc. But the guy was up for 13 indictments in total.

We (the Jury) recieved the case today, right before lunch. So we had a nice leisurely lunch on the US Goverment (thank you) and then started into deliberations.

Somehow, I got picked as Foreman, the funny thing was when we were receiving instructions from the judge and he was telling us what we would have to do, the first thing he said was we would have to pick a foreman. At that moment I looked over at the prosecution table and made eye contact with one of the lawyers, it was prophetic and freaky at the same time.

But I prattle, so we're going down the list of indictments and we're voting, we get to one we can't make a decision, we say we'll come back to it. Go down the rest of the list and come back to the one we had trouble with, we take a vote 8 Guilty 4 Not Guilty, we deliberate, take another vote 9G 3NG. We talk some more, the three jurors say they want to sleep on it.

So we're discussing it, trying to find out why they're holding back. Finally it comes down to me reading the instructions from the judge telling them what we CAN make a decision on and what we CAN'T. Basically that we have to judge the facts of the case, not the way that we interpret them, that the facts tell us one thing and that's the only thing we could go by. So finally after an hour, reviewing evidence, reviewing testimony, they either decide to give up or see that they only thing they can judge is the fact of the case.

We ended up finding him guilty on all charges. When we proceeded back to the courtroom I had to go last since I was foreman.

It was a very strange experience, here we were making a decision that would affect who knows how many people in the future. I thought it would be a simple cut and dry kind of decision, and at some points it was when we were sitting in the jury room....but when it came down to the judge reading the results, I was nervous.

I couldn't look at anyone in the court, I had to set my focus on the judge, I tried to look around but the times I did I saw the defendants mother shaking her head while the judge kept reading off Guilty. I saw a brief smile on the prosecutors lips and I saw a bit of defeat in the defender when he realized that he had lost another case.

It was not as easy as I thought.

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