Tuesday, May 17, 2005

American Justice

I have finally served on a jury! In spite of my feeble attempts to sway the attorneys to drop me like a cow drops a calf, they either felt that my fellow "peers" were of more questionable character than me, or I exuded a Solomon-like wisdom when they asked me questions. Whichever case, it speaks poorly of all involved. Six of us were chosen out of a pool of about 15.

The case we were to decide was in Justice Court (somewhere between City Court and the more prestigious District Court). The defendant was accused of Partner/Family Member Assault. She was a nice-looking lady in her late 30s, accused of pinning her 15 y/o to the floor during an argument, covering her mouth/nose with her hand, and causing bodily injury. In this case that meant scratches on the face, and broken blood vessels in her eye. To be truthful, I was ready to give the mother the benefit of the doubt, but the oldest daughter's (17) testimony really hurt her. And the mom's friend and the daughter's friend's mother didn't help her either. Nothing was offered in her defense. When the jury got to the jury room to deliberate, we first chose a foreman, who immediately asked us to vote to see where we were at. So we all voted (secretly) and it was unanimous. GUILTY! It was pathetic. We weren't alone for 60 seconds, and we declared her guilty. To avoid the appearance that we didn't care, we did actually discuss some things, but we had already decided, so this was just to ease our collective conscience--to see what the rest of us were thinking. While it seemed (in that stereotypical, first-impression sort of way) that the daughter was not an angel, she shouldn't have had to endure this. I would never presume to tell a parent how to raise their children (having never been a parent), but it seemed apparent that mom crossed the line. And, while it didn't sway us, we all guessed that this was not a first-time event.

All in all, an educational day. I'm glad I was involved. It wasn't Law & Order. It wasn't CSI. It wasn't Court TV. Though I would have liked to have seen Lennie Briscoe testifying.
iTunes: Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi

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