Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thoughts on Jury Duty
Nevermind the professional hell that would be a reality for me if I took two weeks off unplanned. Nevermind the long hours in a stuffy (and slightly smelly) courtrooom. Nevermind the terrible coffee they served me.
It would have been fascinating. This trial? Juicy. Totally juicy.
But I didn't know that when I walked into the courtroom Monday morning, although scenes from 12 Angry Men and The Runaway Jury were flashing through my mind.
The process itself was mostly very boring. I was basically there from 8 am to 4:45 pm. Fill out a survey. Wait. Sit and listen to directions. Wait. Leave the courtroom. Go back into the courtroom. Wait. Wait. Wait. Answer a few questions for the judge. Wait some more. I'm thankful I remembered to bring a couple of books.
Finally at 2:30 or so the remaining potential jurors were led back into the courtroom. That is where it started to get interesting. First, both lawyers wanted to be sure that all the jurors knew that TV shows like Law & Order and CSI are not very true to life at all. (Really, I would hope that would be obvious to everyone that watches those shows, but whatever.) But then both lawyers asked everyone a bunch of harder-hitting questions about motives and "beyond reasonable doubt" accepting the testimony of an incarcerated informer. Based on people's responses, they were dismissed or kept in the juror box.
It will be a full-blown double murder trial. Dismembered body parts of victims found under the mobile home of the defendant. A snitch that directed police to the bodies. Although I'm very clear on the fact that the CSI TV show isn't real, this case seemed like it was right out of the plot of a crime drama.
It would have been really interesting. And sobering, to be sure. The defendant most likely faces a lifetime in prison, if convicted. Or worse? I don't know. But I think I could have done a really good job and would have taken it very seriously. But I was randomly given the number 70. They went in order, and didn't end up needing anyone past 40 or so.
Oh well. At least I got to go home and research the case online, after hearing all of these tantalyzing hints about it all day. And my job will continue on without much of a hitch. I'll definitely be following the case with rapt attention. I pray God's will be done in this trial.
On a random note, isn't Indiana state seal really weird? In case you can't tell, it involves a man + ax, and a buffalo(?) jumping over a log. I've never noticed it before, but 5 hours of killing time at a courthouse will cause you to notice all kinds of weird things. Here is another version, in living color:
... and this one includes mountians. Mountains, seriously?