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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Aye the Jury

I hope I never have to have a trial by jury.

While everyone is a precious snowflake with a personal history and perhaps an essence that makes them individuals, there sure are some stupid, stupid snowflakes out there.

It was a pretty odd experience for me, and there were some weird group dynamics. While speaking in public is our #1 fear, it was extra evident when prospective members of the Jury were asked to speak up when questioned.

I myself have a clear voice and am not nervous when speaking, but most others in the group were mumblers and stammerers.

Several of them were clearly idiots and at least one was insane, answering a question with a subject that had no relevance to the question asked.

The guy sitting next to me had no verbal opinions about but he was nodding to himself when a woman said she believed that all the police she met were liars and bullies. He was a twitchy bastard. Fussing and fidgeting the entire day, and he stank too.

As it was with the group dynamic, with some questions asked there there were no responses until one person answered, then there was a flood of hands being raised in response. No one wanted to be the first one to admit to their thoughts.

I did find it very telling that when the Defense asked: "Raise your hand if you believe a police officer wouldn't tell a lie on the stand under oath." Nobody raised their hand. She asked it twice more in different ways, but there were no hands raised.

We also all answered that we believed that Police Officers would plant evidence on a suspect.

Wow.

I have to wonder, is it because of what we have seen on police dramas or because we know human nature?

Also telling, the largish number of people in our group who have had relatives do jail time for drug related offenses (or were in fact drug users themselves) as well as the number of people who had issues judging guilt on nothing but verbal testimony. A lot of people seemed to want fingerprints, DNA evidence or video footage.

I'm really surprised they didn't just dump us all and start over again.

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I went through jury duty a couple times while in STL and both times was struck by the thought that the majority of people in that room would not in any way, shape, or form constitute a jury of my peers. It was frightening.
 
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