Jan 7, 2011
Two years ago, at the worst possible time you could imagine, I was on a jury. I tried to get out of being picked, but to no avail.
I all but said "fry 'em all!!" in the voir dire.
Anyway, that week was one of the most rewarding, boring weeks of my life. I got a glimpse into the judicial system and found it to be unbelievably boring/fascinating at the same time.
I also learned more about venereal disease than I ever wanted to know.
The case turned out to be one of child rape. A boy (who was now about 10) had been raped by an uncle of his from when he was about 3 to 5.
And given him a venereal disease to boot.
It was all just terrible.
The rapist had already been in jail for several years when the trial came up. I don't know why it took so long. That was disheartening. Most of the trial was sheer tedium, but there was one dramatic, heart wrenching moment when the boy's mother took the stand.
The boy hadn't seen her in years. As if in a movie, after a dramatic pause, the doors opened. All heads swung to the door. In came a young, slender, pretty woman in glasses, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. She was chivalrously escorted by two guards, helping her to keep from tripping on her shackles.
You could see the boy fighting back tears seeing her.
She'd been in prison for years for dealing drugs. She turned out to be an articulate and persuasive defendant for her son.
The defense attorney tried to smear her, of course, but he was clearly grasping at straws.
That week we worked every day, sometimes 14 hours, always with the bailiff near us.
He even escorted us to our cars at night, both for our own safety and to keep us from discussing the case with each other until we were allowed to deliberate.
In the end, the rapist was sent to prison, but not without a fair amount of really intelligent discussion on our part. I have to admit, I had no doubts or hesitation, but others did. I was genuinely impressed by the discussion. Thankfully, however, my side won out. It was obvious to me at least that he was more than guilty.
At the end, we each got a certificate from the judge, a hard nosed, no nonsense woman who had spent a fair amount of time with us, making sure we got fed well. I'll give 'em that, we never went hungry.
After she thanked us, she promised we wouldn't have to serve on a jury for a certain amount of time. We all breathed a heavy sigh of relief and went home.
I'd forgotten how long that dispensation was supposed to last....until last week. Apparently it was for two years and eight months, because guess who just got a summons for jury duty again....bright and early this Monday morning?