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View Diary: Jury Duty and Mushrooms--A Look Back (66 comments)

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  •  Three juries, once a foreman... (1+ / 0-)
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    I've served on three juries so far.

    1. The first one was a civil case where a woman slipped in her apartment building on a floor of tiles that were being repolished. There were three defendants: the owner, the company that did the work, and one guy who was hired for the day by the company.

    The plaintiff's lawyers built a strong enough case that the first two parties settled during the trial, whereupon the only defendant left was the day hire. We were supposed to ignore this fact and treat the claim as if the owners and company weren't involved, but we didn't and awarded the woman only her medical expenses and a token amount for pain and suffering. (It didn't help that she complained that her injury made it impossible for her to bond with her grandchild, which had all of the older women on the jury rolling their eyes.)

    2. The second trail was for first degree murder, where a guy took his girlfriend to a local park, had sex with her one last time, and then shot her. At least that's what we decided - sperm with his DNA was found in her vagina (since this was 1990 this was a very early DNA case, something the defense lawyer made a lot of), and he made some incriminating remarks to an FBI agent he encountered in an unrelated incident.

    3. The third trial was for assault and attempted murder. The claim was that the defendant and a friend of his broke this couple's door down and tried to shoot them with a shotgun that didn't go off.

    The prosecution's case was hindered by the fact that the only witnesses were the man of the house, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's friend, each of whom had their own versions of the incident, and whose stories changed from the initial police report to pretrial interviews to what they said on the witness stand in front of us.

    My favorite part, though,  was the photo they showed us of the door that was supposedly broken in - because it showed all of the door except the part that was broken. Witness after witness pointed off the right-hand edge of the photograph to indicate where the damage had occurred.

    Anyhow, despite there being about a dozen charges against this guy (the prosecution hoping that something just might stick?), we found him not guilty on all counts. I was foreman for that jury and felt very satisfied afterwards that we'd come down on the side of justice against the system. (I still brood occasionally over the other two cases.)

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