4.11.2013

JUROR # 1

I had the privilege and challenge of serving on a jury a few months ago.  I was impressed with how serious the process is.  I was disgusted by how easily the process can be derailed from getting to the truth.  (I wrote in more detail about that experience HERE and HERE.)

The defendant was charged with DUI.  The evidence was indisputable.  The jury had to be unanimous, but the six of us split 4 guilty / 2 not.  After five hours of deliberation, nobody changed their minds.  The judge declared a mistrial, and the defendant was set free.

I was shocked.  In my eyes, the defendant had clearly broken the law.  The two jurors who did not agree argued not that the young man had not driven under the influence, but that the evidence was skewed by the police department.  Almost immediately, we were off track, arguing the role of government, the people vs. the establishment, and whether or not the judge presiding over this case was corrupt.

It was ridiculous.  I learned I don't know enough about our judicial system and neither does the average citizen, five of whom I shared a room with for five hours.  I hope I'm never at the mercy of a jury of my peers.  We're a squirrely lot.

All I can do is pray the young defendant learned a few things too.  Hopefully not to drink and drive.  But, sadly, he might have learned if you distract and confuse the masses, you're home free.


13 comments:

Dana Martin said...

Hello, lady! Well, well, well... it was bound to happen. We are sharing the same topic today for "J." Alas, I just posted "I" so you're in a jury pool by yourself for a while. I had the same experience as you, so unfortunately it must happen all too often. Our defendants were gun toting known gang members, and yep -- wouldn't you know, the darn police must have set them up?

Squirrely, indeed.

See you for "K." (I think I still need to go back and read "H")

Dana at Waiter, drink please!

Mari said...

After reading Dana's response I have to think how frustrating this has to be for the police. I'm sure there's some bad ones out there but I believe that most of them are doing their best and to have guilty people set free has to be awful!

Jen Forbes said...

I remember reading these posts as they played out. Just terrible! We can only pray he saw getting off as the gift it was-learned his lesson and never had another drink and got behind the wheel again.

Jenelle Leanne said...

Have you ever seen the movie "Twelve Angry Men"? I got to be juror number 8 in the play in high school. We had a field trip to the courthouse and observed a trial in order to better research and familiarize ourselves with the whole process (and the judge called our directors and told them what the verdict had been decided on by the jury).

I've been called to do jury duty 3-5 times, but never actually served. I think it would be a very interesting experience.

Betsy Brock said...

I served a week as a juror. Very interesting to say the least. A great experience I think all citizens should do!

Rebecka Vigus said...

Be on a 12 person jury and get to go to deliberations at 3pm. One guy's daughter was getting married the next day. He needed to be at rehearsal that night. By 5pm we had a verdict and it was unanimous. It was not easy to keep 12 people focused.

anothercleanslate said...

I have yet to serve on a jury, but it was interesting to read your perspective. Good work keeping up with the challenge!

Sharon said...

I was summoned to a federal court for jury duty and fun because I had to drive 2 hours and got to stay in a hotel all by myself with the state flipping the bill, but unfortunately I wasn't chosen! I was so sad; I thought the process was so interesting and was looking forward to actually participate; I must have answered the questions from the attorneys the wrong way and maybe I shouldn't have objected to a few things either. Maybe someday, but you must have been so frustrated at the process. The defendant was fortunate and caught a break, hope he learned a lesson.

Marianne said...

Very depressing outcome, especially considering how untouchable this kid might feel going forward. Let's hope he has learned his lesson.

Michael Ann said...

Your jury story was really interesting and yes, disturbing. Even in my own private experience, going through a divorce, I see how it can become a game between the lawyers just to win. It's all a human process, just like everything else.... therefore open to flaws!

J said...

Very interesting. Have never been called to serve but have heard of similar injustices due to quirks in the law. One local trial freed a drunk driving retired congressman by making the young man whose car he hit look awful by bringing up a minor incident in his past.
I guess true justice will only be served in the next life....no escaping that judge!
And I have always loved that Edmund Burke quote!

Rita said...

Truth seems to be quite the slippery devil in the justice system sometimes. :(

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I do not know how I would cope on jury........because I am sure there would be some right dills on the jury with me..........