Friday, April 6, 2012

juror #8

i had jury duty for the first time ever last week.
from the stories i had heard, i would go and sit in a room for 8 hours and leave
i might have to go into a court room, but based on my job, i wouldn't be selected.
so last monday i reported at 8 am. i filled out my paperwork. my sweet roommate let me bring her ipad to keep me entertained. at 10 am my name was called.
i went into the court room. they selected 12 names. i was set.
then, juror #10 was dismissed. they called another name. not mine. phew.
then juror #8 was dismissed.
"Kendra Sands"
the Assistant District Attorney questioned me, and just me (everyone else had their turn). once he was done, he turned to the Judge "The state is satisfied Your Honor". BALLS
then the defense attorney asked us all questions. He had a long list of dismissals "defense would like to thank but excuse jurors #3....#6... (yesss...say 8....) #7...(come on....) and # 12."

i was now officially on the jury.
and it wasn't a tiny hit and run type thing. 7 charges against this guy. his ankles shackled.

this started what i would find out later would be a long, stressful week. I couldn't talk about the case with anyone, including other jurors. I saw disturbing pictures, heard graphic details. I saw a witness shaking violently on the stand. i sat near a very loud mouth breathers. All very traumatizing.
I had trouble sleeping at night, lying awake wondering who was lying (pretty much everone) who was telling the truth... what is the real story? and it wasn't even the defense against the victim. Nope, the State was charging him. The victim only testified, but had nothing else to do with the case, minus his name being used. This wasn't a typical cut-and-dry thing. It was really hard.
We ended up deliberating for hours. the 2 versions of the story we were given were SO different. it was really hard for us to know what really had happened.
the whole time we were in or room, they had to wait in the court room. they did NOT expect it to take that long. but we stayed late, voting over and over on each charge, only initially being in agreement on one of the 7 (the lowest charge). I went into the bathroom and cried. We were never getting out of there. Most of the time it was 11 against 1. And the 1...he was stubborn. I honestly prayed for most of my lunch break that the Lord would bring unity, and reveal either to us 11, or to the 1 what the truth was.
we finally reached our verdict at like 6pm (normally court lets out at 5). The 1 decided that he trusted us. If we were all so confident in our votes, he would trust that we had noticed or heard things he hadn't picked up on. it was amazing.
afterwards, the judge came in and told us we did a great job, that our case was very hard, and we did exactly what he would've done. it was so reassuring.

We all agreed that we walked away feeling we had done the right thing. But knowing we locked a man away... that when he got out of prison his little girl would be a grown woman... that was hard.
And the funny thing was... all this week, I kinda missed it. not the case itself, but just the entire experience. i can't really explain it.  maybe it was the total change of pace. Or the somewhat attractive detective that sat in for 3 days (though he only had to be there for 1... hmmm)

that's my story.
(PS- there were a few objections. those were the highlight of the entire week for me. Especially when the judge said "overruled!".i don't know why, but i like when he overrules them. )

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