Thursday, March 05, 2009

A few thoughts on Jury Duty.

It was DUI trial.  The Judge was an excellent Jurist.  He was clear, concise, and had a sense of humor.  It was the perfect first trial for a first time juror.

The six person panel in the jury box was 3 women and 3 men.

The Defense was good but the Defendant had made 7 fatal and in my opinion impaired decisions that could not be explained away.

The Prosecution was very good, exploiting every single one of the defendant's impaired decisions.

At this time the Defendant decided to be called in his own defense.

When the Prosecutor cross examined him, it was terrible to see him destroy the defendant's story of events in just nine minutes. In my opinion, he destroyed his credibility when he tried to explain himself and stumbled over his own time lines.

Both counsels rested and the judge gave the jury their orders: Guilty or Not Guilty base on two tiny little facts:

  • Was the Defendant driving his vehicle on the night in question and in the county in question (Proven).
  • Was the Defendant impaired (Unproven).
I guess when you choose not to take the breathalyzer all the State has to prove is impairment. I was absolutely sure that any reasonable person paying attention could see, based on evidence and testimony, that he was impaired.

Off we go to the deliberation room to select the Foreman of the Jury. It was done in 30 seconds.

Then the foreman asks everyone what we think. After a moment of silence the foreman thought it would be a better idea to write a "G" for Guilty or an "N" for Not Guilty on a secret ballot. Put them in a hat and read off the results. I thought "Wow" we will be out of here by 1:30 PM. So everyone puts their secret ballot into the hat.

The verdict was 4xG and 2xN. I was absolutely sure two of my fellow jurors were sleeping during the trial. So we started to discuss the facts and our observations.

  • Police Officers Lie (WTF?)
  • The Breathalyzer is a piece of shit.
  • How can a man drive 30 miles and still be impaired.
  • The Breathalyzer Tech (Read as Police Officer) was a rookie and unable to do the job with any competence.
  • That the word of the (impaired) Citizen (whom the two police officers could smell alcohol on the defendant's breath) should be worth more than the Police Officers that were trying to ruin the (impaired) Citizens life.
  • That the defendant was not drunk.

So we hash out for 35 minutes the facts and again stating the jury only needs to be convince he was impaired.

We decide to do another secret ballot.
  • 5xG and 1xN.

So we rehash what the facts were again for 40 minutes. We then do a secret ballot.
  • 4xG and 2xN (WTF!?!?!?!?) Who changed their mind?

At this point we tossed out the secret ballots and each juror outlined their reasons for his guilt or innocence. At this time I heard the most unbelievable words ever spoken. "All Cops lie". That is a huge generalization that is equal to "Obama is good for the economy".

I told him I could not believe that the State would license liars and then give them all guns and badges. If it was that easy I would have been a Police Officer if all I had to do was lie.

He said that the weight of the (impaired) Citizen testimony should be worth more than the Police Officers. We went over the facts for another 30 minutes clearly defining what each of us felt was "impaired judgment" and finally he understood that the defendant was impaired or gave up and just wanted to leave.

After the Judge did his thing it was 3:30 and we left.

I don't ever want to serve on a capital case.  Something this easy was still difficult to do given each individuals life experiences.


  1. Well, I've been on a capital trial where something very similar happened. One juror was a 100% prick. He had major issues with a woman being the juror foreperson, and after we tried to discuss it, he went to the judge on his own. She graciously resigned, and a retired doctor took her place. he had problems with him, too, and went to the judge again. After FOUR DAYS of this BS, we finally had a foreperson who met his "approval", and we started deliberating. For the next TWO WEEKS, this guy kept having testimony re-read (OK by me), exhibits re-explained, and asking for other things that were not entered into evidence. the judge was getting pretty upset with him, and took him aside to explain how the process worked. After another week of voting, he would NOT change his mind to convict because he was against the death penalty, something he said he had no problem with during the voir dire! We wound up with a hung jury, a mistrial, and three thugs were set free. The DA told us they would immediately refile the charges so they could get these guys off the street, but the amount of tax payer money this dolt caused to be wasted was a real shame.

  2. Having been on called in for jury duty, gone through the selection process only to have the thing moved, I cannot comment on my experience verses yours but it seems to me at least one of the jurors was just screwing with the rest of you on purpose. How can someone in his right mind argue against impairment when the evidence plainly points to it? Unless an officer of the law is PROVEN to be inept and a liar, then his integrity and honesty should not be questioned. Just my humble opinion..

    The bird.

  3. Cops lie. Case closed.

    Thank god the entire jury didn't think this way. Good for you, Admiral.


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