Thursday, June 22, 2006

Innocent until proven Guilty

I was summoned this week for Jury Duty. The only day I had to go was yesterday. Even though it was an inconvenience on my day, I was happy to serve. I was amazed and proud to be a part of the judicial process. I was the last number in a group of 30 prospectives, so of course it never made it to me and I was not chosen for the trial. But it was a good experience nonetheless. I hope that if I ever need my fellow citizens to be there for me, that they will understand and be willing to sacrifice their time in the same way.

There was one funny incident that gave me a little comic relief I thought I'd share. After the initial twelve people had entered the box, the Judge and then the Prosecutor went over the responsibilities of a juror. Then the Assistant DA asked if anyone had any reason they felt they would not be able to carry out their duties. An elderly lady raised her hand and said she was hard of hearing and needed to be excused. The ADA asked the lady if she felt her hearing-difficulty would impare her ability to give the proceedings the required attention. She responded with an obstinate "NO!" Then the ADA asked her if she thought she would miss some questions or answers due to her hearing difficulty and as a result not be able to be fair in her final decision. Again an obstinate "NO!" The ADA reworded both questions a couple times with the same short response. The judge then asked the lady about her hearing and if it would be a problem in giving the defendant a fair trial. She said no she'd be fine. By this time the entire courtroom is sniffling and chuckling under its breath. This lady had no idea what she was even doing there, oh and btw her hearing was fine. The judge dismissed her. Once out of the room, everyone burst into laughter. I didn't want to make fun of the old lady, but it was hilarious.

Another thing that happened was not funny, it actually made me mad. Later on in the morning a middle-aged gentleman was called into the box. When asked if he felt he could do his duties as described, he stated he could not. When the judge asked him why not, he replied that he felt in this type of incident (it was an Under-the-Influence case that the defendant pled not-guilty to) the defense should have to bear some of the burden of proof. The Judge seemed a bit peeved when he responded by saying "Well maybe in some countries, but not in the United States. What type of freedoms and liberties do you enjoy now that would be possible if our justice system was ruled under the pretense of Guilty until proven Innocent?" This well-dressed, obviously arrogant man responded by saying "A BETTER Justice system! Any time a person drinks and drives they should have the book thrown at them!" Not a bad thought, but no evidence had been presented to show the defendant had been drinking anything at all! The man remained staunch in his opinions and told the judge he couldn't be fair because he "knew" he would vote guilty. He was obviously dismissed.

People like that make me want to scream. If this really was a just world, that man would be arrested at his home on a charge of child-abuse. And he would be charged right away as guilty. After all, isn't that a horrible crime that demands a stiff punishment? It doesn't matter that evidence hasn't been brought against him, the severity of the crime just automatically makes him guilty. Right? Well of course not, but that is what that ignorant fool was saying. He may have come into the courtroom with a lofty opinion of himself, but he left with everyone else considering him stupid and selfish.

All that said, I hope I have the opportunity to serve again soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya Sam, this is in lieu of sending an email 'cause I don't have your email address....

I'm gonna buy a copy of Into The Wild myself, it's one CD I've definitely gotta have a real copy of!

But listen -- DON'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!! (to buy one.) Nice idea for your anniversary and all but go today and get one, and be a nice husband and give a nice little gift just for the heck of it. Is there a Hallmark store nearby? Or somewhere you can get wrapping paper and bows and stuff? All ya need is a bow. Go get a 45ยข bow to stick on the CD to pretty it up and DON'T WAIT... this is too good to wait on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, I'd don't totally know your tastes, a Pearl Jam fan doesn't necessarily have to love this and I like all kinds of music, but this is a GREAT album, short but very cool!!!

Catchya later!

3:31 AM  

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