Trial and Error
10:59 a.m. - 2005-01-26
I never expected to actually get picked to serve on the jury, so of course that's exactly what happened.
Hell, they didn't even ask me any questions. Everyone else had to give a full-blown oral autobiography, but I just sat there looking bored. I kept waiting for one of the lawyers to ask me my name, my husband's name, my opinion on corporal punishment--SOMETHING--but it didn't happen. Still, when they read the names aloud, there I was: Juror #4.
We sat through five hours of trial on Monday, and were told that we'd most likely be out by noon yesterday. Didn't happen. The attorneys finally gave their closing arguments at 4:00 Tuesday afternoon, and we were sent back to deliberate and decide on a verdict.
As someone who reads a shitload of crime novels and watches more than her fair share of movies related to the topic, I expected riveting testimony and many hours of cross-examining. It didn't take long to figure out that in reality (or at least in this teeninsy town) things aren't like that.
The sad fact of the matter was that I didn't believe anything anyone said. The vast amount of holes in both the prosecution's and the defense's testimony made the entire trial seem like a big block of swiss cheese, and I kept wondering what the hell we were doing there. I've often mentioned that I want nothing more than to get out of this place, and sitting in that jury box listening to cockamamie excuses and obviously fabricated stories only served to further my resentment of this backward-ass, redneck, ignorant shithole. The cops didn't have their stories straight, the defense's witnesses were clearly lying through their teeth, and the guy on trial kept objecting to everything. Hours and hours of stopping and starting, being sent back to the jury room, watching those that are supposed to "serve and protect" make complete asses out of themselves is really tiring on a person, and by the time I got out of there last night I had one of the worst migraines imaginable.
Still, we had to reach a verdict, and even though there really wasn't sufficient evidence (it was basically one person's word against another's) my gut instinct told me that the guy was guilty. It only took us an hour to reach our verdict, but those sixty minutes felt like forever. And even though it wasn't a life or death situation, I felt ashamed of myself. Granted, he's proven himself time and time again to be a really bad guy, and yeah, it's probably best for everyone that he's going to be spending a few years in jail, but it was shoddy police work and the evidence was entirely circumstantial.
I left the courtroom feeling dirty and aggravated with the entire world, especially since I knew that I had to go back again today and possibly be chosen again for another round. (The judge explained that while this isn't the normal practice of things, only fifty of the 160 people summonsend actually showed up and they needed at least that many to choose from.)
When I arrived this morning, I learned that there were two shootings (no injuries) over the verdict last night, and forty or so family members and friends had caused a huge scene outside the courthouse after we left yesterday. (That explains why we were escorted to our cars.) We waited outside the courtroom for more than an hour today before they called us in to announce that a plea bargain had been reached and we weren't needed after all. Thank god.
The administration at school is pissed because I couldn't find a substitute for today, and even though I called the vice-principal at home last night to alert him of that fact, no one bothered to do anything about it. I got an 8 a.m. phone call questioning why I wasn't there and whether or not I'd arranged for a sub, and even after I explained the situation, I got a (silent) bitching out because no one was there to teach my class. (Saying nothing really does speak volumes, and I have a feeling that I'm due for a serious griping out tomorrow.)
It's only Wednesday, but damned if it doesn't feel like a week has already passed. The house is a wreck, I'm so far behind in lessons that I don't know if I'll ever be able to catch up, and I'm dreading going to work tomorrow. Definitely isn't a good day to be me.