Monday, March 31, 2008

Guilty as charged!

Oh yes, Jury Duty is officially over. Let me recap... It was now time for us, the jury, to begin deliberation. First, before we could start the judge had to give incredibly long instructions on the applicable laws that were used for this specific case. We were then ushered into the deliberation room. First we had to pick a foreman. It was a relief to finally be able to express opinions about the case. The first task was to determine whether the person was Guilty as charged and that went smoothly. What took longer was 3 enhancement charges. However, this was not to go as smoothly as the Main vote. In my opinion, I thought this was so slam dunk easy, what's taking soooo long. By lunch, it was obvious we weren't making any progress so it the break came as a welcome relief from the group.

Back from lunch we found ourselves in a ready to go... action! We had a one juror that was very hesitant to make the final decision because of "feelings". Grrrr! Folks, you can't make your decision based on feelings, you have to follow the law of instructions regardless of how you feel. The stare-down went on for a while with both sides defending their positions, vowing not to compromise. But finally the person came around and again, Guilty as charged on the enhancements.

We had taken almost the entire court day, but we were relieved to have finally reached a verdict. We notified the Judge and within 30 minutes, we were back in the jury box for the reading of the verdict. As the clerk read the decision, I watched with eagle eyes everyone's responses.

The Public Defender was obviously displeased with the decision, so he asked the judge for permission to poll the jury to make sure that the entire jury was in agreement. One by one we were asked if we agreed with the verdict and we all answered yes. The judge thanked us for our service and we were then discharged. The case was over, as far as we were concerned.

As we were gathering downstairs on the street, the District Attorney made an appearance to thank us personally. It was a nice touch. We got to ask further questions that weren't allowed during the trial. Then the Public Defender came over and asked us a few questions as well. 45 minutes later I said it was time for something to drink. My fellow juror buddy said, "Oh yea it's St. Patrick Day!" I said, "I don't care what day it is! I'm glad this is over with!" Other's heard our conversation and joined us! I hate beer but to stay with the Green theme, I had a Apple Martini and it was quite good!

We all agreed that we are glad that we live in the USA and even though our judicial system has flaws, it's better than other countrys!

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