Monday, June 30, 2008

My Civic Duty

Yes, I was chosen to be on a jury last week. I was potential juror #10, and ended up being actual Juror #6.

Lucky me.

Actually, it wasn't that bad, and I (almost) actually enjoyed the experience.

The defendant was standing trial for possession of cocaine with intent to sell, plus domestic violence. *shudder* Fortunately, the domestic violence was dropped due to the girlfriend and the witness refusing to testify.

According to the jury, this was an easy open-and-shut case: he wasn't guilty.

Although, he surely wasn't innocent.

The fact of the matter is that the prosecution just didn't do its job. It couldn't prove anything; everything was simply speculation.

The defense must have known this beforehand; it only called one witness: the defendant.

We got the case after lunch, and after listening (and listening, and listening) to the closing arguments and rules and stipulations, we were finally sent back to deliberate.

Our presiding juror (i.e. foreman) was great (and no, it wasn't me). We deliberated for about an hour, though it didn't really need to take us that long. I think we just liked talking about everything.

When we finally took a vote, it was 11-1. We needed to be unanimous. The one juror who held out was only doing so emotionally: she couldn't stomach the fact that anyone having anything to do with drugs would be allowed on the streets because of us. I think most of us just looked at her aghast. We had to reexplain over and over and over that our job was not to pass judgment on his choices, only on whether the prosecution had cast reasonable doubt. It didn't; therefore, the defendant was not guilty.

She finally capitulated, though said she'd regret it for the rest of her life. Whatever. We didn't badger her or cajole her. In fact, we were very polite and understanding with her; we just had to remind her (again and again) what our job was: to look at the facts and evidence, and only the facts and evidence.

Thankfully, we were home by 5:00 pm. After a 30 minute drive, because, of course, the county seat couldn't possibly be in the biggest town in the county. Oh, no. That would be way too convenient.

Well, for me, at least. It would be highly inconvenient for most of the rest of the county.

Overall, though, it was a good experience. And though I'm not eager to do it again, I wouldn't mind one bit being called in another 10 years or so.


  1. Way to do your civic duty! You almost make it sound like fun!

  2. Too bad the prosecution didn't do a better job. If he actually was guilty it's a shame he's back on the streets.

  3. Man, I hope I never have to serve on a jury. I think I would have been that one woman.


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