Friday, December 7, 2012

Jury Duty Report

On Monday I reported to my county's circuit court for the jury selection process. It took all day and part of the next. I was selected to sit on a criminal trial jury, which started on Tuesday. We wrapped up today, right around 5 o'clock.

Now before you think I'm divulging classified information, the judge assured that once the trial was over, all parties, including the jury, would be released from their oaths to not discuss it. She even said we could write a book about it if we wanted!

The case involved a conspiracy to commit robbery. Two parties had confessed and the other denied involvement. He was the one on trial. When all the testimony and evidence had been presented, there simply wasn't enough to convict him under our state's laws.

It took us about an hour to reach that verdict. I served as the foreperson, so I had to moderate the discussions and make sure we were following the parameters set forth by the law in order to make a determination of guilt. This is by far one of the most difficult things I've ever done. My gut told me this person was guilty. But we had to base our verdict on something other than gut feelings. That principle is the very foundation of our justice system.

I know we did our jobs as we had been charged by the judge. And I know it was the right verdict based on the evidence. But I didn't feel satisfied because I believed this person HAD been involved in the crime, it just couldn't be proven with the evidence provided and what we were allowed to consider as indication of guilt. Then after the trial the prosecutor told us the defendant had 13 more pending cases. Yes, that's right. 13.

So I feel that justice will eventually be served. I know that a person reaps what he sows. And sooner or later, a person's crimes will catch up with him.

In the meantime, I will be able to sleep in peace tonight. My fellow jurors and I did the right thing.

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