Jury Duty Re-cap

As many of you may know, I had jury duty Monday. I was selected as a juror and seated for a trial. It lasted two days.

It was a basic operating under the influence trial.

The facts were as follows:

Two young kids (18 years old) were driving down a street on a Saturday night around 8 PM. It had snowed during the day and the roads were wet, but not too icy. As they were driving, a car began tailgating them very close. The car backed off and then passed them at a high rate of speed. They were going 35-40 MPH so they estimated the other car was going 60-70 MPH. They lost sight of the car as it went around a bend. When they came around the bend, they thought they saw the car taking a U-turn. When they came up further, they discovered the car that had passed them had spun out, smashed into two parked cars and landed facing the opposite direction on the front lawn of some one's house. They saw a guy get out of the car and run past them. The kid in the passenger seat rolled down his window and asked if the guy was OK. He said "yes" and ran off across a field towards some woods.

The kids called the cops who responded to the scene. One cop went to check the car to see if anyone was inside. He saw one set of footprints coming from the driver's side going off across the field towards the woods. Three cops started following the footprints. One cop slipped on some ice and broke his ankle so only one cop kept following the footprints. Meanwhile, another cop picked up what he believed to be the footprint trail at the other side of the woods and followed it. He followed the trail to a home near the woods and found a guy hiding behind a woodpile. He arrested him and cuffed him and stuck him in the back of his cruiser. Apparently the guy reeked of booze and had "heavy" speech. The cop who had been following the tracks from the accident scene came upon them and hopped in the front seat of the cruiser to be returned to his car.

Back at the station they gave him a field sobriety test which he failed and they booked him for operating under the influence, operating a vehicle negligently and leaving the scene of an accident.

Those were the facts presented to us through testimony. A jury can only find someone guilty if they believe BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that the state has proven the case.

We (the jury) heard testimony from the two kids and two of the cops involved. The defense attorney spent most of the time trying to get the witnesses to admit they never actually saw the defendant driving the car. The thought was if he wasn't driving, he couldn't be guilty. It was a pretty weak defense if you ask me.

Once closing arguments were done I got selected as the alternate juror which means I didn't get to deliberate on the verdict! I got sent to another room while the other six folks deliberated. I sat in that room for less than 20 minutes. The jury found the guy guilty on all three counts (my sentiments too).

After the trial the judge met with us and agreed we had reached a good verdict. He gave us further background on the case-evidence we weren't allowed to hear- that made our verdict seem even more proper. The judge even promised to stop by for a hot dog the next time he got assigned to Marlborough District Court!

I won't have to serve jury duty for another three years. I hope I get another trial because it is kind of cool to see how our justice system works in its purest form. Trial by jury is a fundamental pillar of our society. Being a part of it makes our messed up system seem OK after all; this is how it's supposed to work.

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2 comments:

PERBS said...

I had jury duty this past year. Accident case. I was the last juror chosen. They only needed 5 votes for a decision but I got to deliberate and vote too. I voted against giving both occupants any money as I felt they had previous illness/injuries and didn't receive any in this bump in the back which didn't even damage their vehicle. The other 5 decided to give the lady her dr. money and none to the guy who only went to the dr. on her insistence days later.

I wanted them to have to pay the court a penny each for wasting everyone's time. Good thing they only had to have 5 jurors agree. lol

incomesecrets said...

Hi,
Good post here. Just like others i have gone through.
I must say you really have something going on here.
Useful stuff really. Keep up the good work.
Guess I'm going to come around more frequently.
Keep the fire burning.

Incomesecrets

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