Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jury duty

The trial is over and I can talk about it now.

Our system is a great one. It works to protect the rights of the accused/arrested. Unfortunately, the system is an overloaded one.

The case I was on was an OVI. There were no toxicology reports, but the guy crashed his car into a tree on a residential road at night. He had 2 baggies of white powder, one cocaine, one crushed Adderall. In addition, there were 30-60 pills spilled all over the front floorboard and seat of his car. In addition, he admitted to taking methodone that morning, 3 beers at midday, and cocaine three days before. The two arresting officers testified that he was impaired. Finally, we saw a dash-cam video that showed him clearly failing the 2 field sobriety tests. To any reasonable person, he was impaired. Defense claimed back injury prevented ability to perform the tests. On the video, you can hear the guy say, when the officer's asked before administering the tests if he had an health issues, "I have sciatica, but it's not bothering me now." He also entered and exited the cruiser in such a manner as to convince everyone familiar with anhyone who has back pain that he was NOT affected by back pain at that time.

One guy on the jury would not convict. I respect his right to vote as his conscience dictated but he indicated over and over that he would not convict the guy because the prosecution did not do their job. He insisted that they screwed up because there was no tox report. I pointed out every time he brought that up that we did not know that there was not a report, that perhaps there was and for some reason it was not admissable or it was surpressed. He couldn't buy it. 8 hours of deliberation. Hung jury.

Afterwards we found out the there were tox reports and that the guy scored 8 times higher than the 'high level' for cocaine. That evidence was surpressed because you can't submit tox reports for evidence without a lab tech to testify and the prosecution couldn't get the lab tech into court that day.

Despite all that, if I were ever charged with anything, I'd want people like those in that jury room deciding my fate. Despite the low stakes, everyone took it seriously, listened to each other, and except for the one guy, to consider each other's views.

By the way, the one guy who wouldn't convict? Corporate lawyer. Seemed to think he knew how to do the prosecutor's job better than the prosecutor.

Hope the coke guy, who by the way didn't have any priors, learned his lesson and doesn't ever again get behind the wheel of a car while jacked. We can only hope.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so interesting. I never got picked to serve when I've had jury duty. I think it would be fun to see the inner workings like you did. Good job! Are you off jury duty now that you served? Or do you still have to remain in the pool?


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