Monday, January 26, 2009

The Jury is In

"Not Guilty," was the verdict. My jury duty is over. Five days of driving in traffic, getting up an hour early, listening to boring testimony, and actually, it was all for naught. I say it was for nothing because there were 14 of us listening to the testimony. When it was finished, they only needed 12 jurors. I was chosen to be an alternate. So the other alternate juror and I were put in a separate room with absolutely nothing to do, for six hours. Six hours! We couldn't leave because we might be needed to fill in.

We two alternate jurors had absolutely nothing in common. I'm old; he was the youngest juror. I'm white; he's black. I live in the suburbs; he's a city kid. I'm female; he's male. Talking to him was like living in a different plane of existence. It occurred to me that he has no idea of what I'm talking about. How could he ever be a good juror?

When it took the deliberating jury 6 hours to reach a decision that I was convinced of without any doubt, within 5 minutes, this lead me to think less of the jury system. What were they deliberating about when it was so clear that he was innocent. I don't think I ever want my future to rest in the hands of a jury. I'll take my chances with an experienced judge.

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