Friday, August 17, 2007

American Justice

The scales of justice are sometimes wobbly. That's the conclusion I reached after serving on a jury yesterday. We spent a really long day in trial and a long time in deliberations last night before settling on a verdict. It was tough...and tiring.

People sometimes ask me if I miss being in journalism. I don't really, but I do miss attending court proceedings. I love a good trial, especially a murder trial. I've covered several, and I never fail to be fascinated by the process, the drama and the interaction between the families affected. If I were young and single, my dream job (other than being a Rockette) would be freelance writing about high profile trials. I even met Hubby at a murder trial-more on that this weekend. I enjoy legal dramas, legal thrillers, legal novels. I could spend hours immersed in a John Grisham book. Of course, none of that fiction is like the real thing. The real thing is even better. So, it was with great enthusiam that I opened my notice for jury duty recently. I'm that much of a nerd. I was probably the only goober in the pool of people gathered yesterday hoping to get picked. Arnold Horseshack couldn't have been any more eager than I was. You see, I've been called for jury duty before but never gotten chosen. My job in news and Hubby's career in law enforcement gave me an automatic boot from any case. I would show up, only to be quickly turned away. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. This time, though, I have a different job and Hubby is retired. I was cleared for take-off and survived the strikes. Finally, I got to see the inside of the jury room and take part in that process. It was much tougher than I thought it would be. It is an incredible responsibility to know that you are holding someone's future in your hands. And the future of his family.

We heard a child abuse case, and to make a long story short (which I'm not very capable of) neither side presented a very good case. The police investigation was weak and so was the prosecution and the defense. Throughout the testimony my opinions on guilt or innocense kept sliding back and forth. I truly had mixed feelings when I entered the jury room. We stayed in the jury room a long time and in the end decided on not guilty. For the sake of the child we hope we did the right thing. I think we did the right thing. We followed the law. That was what we were charged to do. I wish I were completely comfortable with the outcome. I'm glad I got to serve, and I hope we tipped the scales in the right direction. I just wish they weren't so wobbly.

1 comment:

Supercop said...

Welcome to my world. The scales always swing back and forth but somehow it always seems to work out in the end. I'm sure you used your best judgement. I've seen some jurors fall asleep while serving. Sadly most people serving don't care about the system. I've had many a frustrating night after court.