Jury Duty – Part 3
Today was my jury duty for the county. I had a feeling I was going to be called to serve. Sure enough, I was one of 6 chosen to serve.
I was very nervous, but also felt more confident in what would be expected of me after my experiences from my last jury summons a couple of weeks ago. One of the questions posed to the potential jurors was in regards to the defendant’s right to remain silent (one of the rules of the law) and would that make it hard for us to judge the case. While we all agreed that it could make us wonder why the defendant would choose not to testify on his own behalf but also that everyone was innocent until proven guilty, when the question was asked of me I told the judge that, whether the defendant testified or not, it was really up to the prosecution to convince us of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt anyways. The judge then asked everyone, by a show of hands, to indicate if they agreed with my statement or not. Not everyone raised their hand, but I felt pretty proud of myself when the judge then said that I was absolutely correct and she used my statement as a segue into talking about the next rule of law in how it is the prosecution’s job to convince the jury, etc.
So while I was glowingly happy about my right answer, in the back of my mind I was wondering if I had helped seal my fate to be chosen for service… (I was asked other questions too and did okay on them as well, although my stomach jumped every time they called on me.)
It was actually a great experience. I took the responsibility very seriously. While I am allowed to talk about the case openly now, I do not feel comfortable putting most of the details online here. But I will say that the six of us arrived at a “Not Guilty” sentence for the defendant. After hearing all of the testimony and the cases put forth by the district attorney and the defense, we unanimously decided that we were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of the crime he was accused of. I felt our jury deliberations were really good. We all discussed our thoughts about the case and why we all came to the conclusion we did, and it was clear that we were all on the same page.
The relief on the defendant’s face when he received the “Not guilty” verdict was awesome. You could see his lawyer was happy for him too as she patted his arm. It made me feel even better about our decision. I don’t have any qualms about the verdict we reached based on the evidence that was presented to us.
My fellow jurors were all such interesting people. I enjoyed talking to each of them. There was only one other girl on the jury and she was about my age and has a 3 month old son at home. I especially enjoyed talking to her and kinda regret that I didn’t get any contact information from her since she lives not far from me.
All in all, I would say (now that it is done!) that this was a rather enjoyable experience. I also learned a lot about the process. TV certainly doesn’t show the boring parts of a trial, such as the jury selection process which takes hours (or days if it is a murder trial, which some of the other jurors there today were being selected for).
And lucky Greggor; the juror number on his summons for tomorrow ended up not being called. So he gets to skip out on his service this time.