Over the last few days, the news has been filled with reactions to another high-profile murder case out of Florida–the so-called “Loud Music” Murder Trial. From the cable news bloviators to the Twitterverse, everyone seems eager to second-guess the jury’s deliberations (at least, the ones that resulted in a mistrial).
Such passionate opinions! people shared. But here’s the thing–few of these people, if any, would actually want to serve on a jury. Or even be willing to.
Dodging jury duty. It’s an American tradition. We’ll plead anything to get out of serving this civic duty–we’ll claim job hassles, childcare responsibility, a passing gas attack–almost any excuse will do, as long as we can make it believable.
The case itself was a bit anticlimactic. The “robbery” we were judging turned out to be little more than a glorified shoplifting case. I was amazed at how lousy the defense attorney’s arguments were. Partly because of her poor presentation, I drove everyone crazy once we reached the jury room. My fellow jurors seemed to want to take a vote and get out of there, but I insisted on dissecting all the evidence. I think the others were afraid I was going to prolong the deliberations until Christmas. Finally, we found the defendant guilty of petty theft, a far lesser crime than robbery. The accused–a young male, he looked about 19 years old–collapsed his head to his knees with relief as we read the verdict. I imagine that the sentence would have been even shorter if he had actually got a good lawyer to defend him. If you’ve committed a crime then it would be wise to look into every option before you decide who you want to represent you. For example, if you live in Philadelphia then you will want to look at all of the philadelphia criminal lawyers to find the best one for you. You know never know how helpful a good lawyer can be to you. I wonder where that young male is today.
The writer’s part of my brain soaked up every drop of the jury experience. The next time I have to craft a court scene, I’ll be able to draw on real memory, not something I learned second-hand. Or, worse! from the movies. The next time I get one of those summons in the mail, I’ll be back in the front row, hoping to get called.
Am I the only person who gets excited about jury duty? Have any of your jury experiences been useful in your story-telling?