Tag Archive: deliberations


When closing arguments began, I had no idea what I would decide. I was dying to know what my fellow jurors thought of everything we had heard. Throughout the four days we were in court, we couldn’t speak to each other about anything relating to the case. Every minute spent together in the jury room was filled with small talk. I couldn’t wait to actually be able to talk about the case, ask the questions that had been haunting my dreams, and finally wrap my head around all the facts.

There was one minor hiccup once all was said and done by the attorneys. There were thirteen of us. Only twelve would go back to the jury room and deliberate. I hoped to high heaven I wouldn’t be the one to be dismissed. How disappointing it would be to sit through the entire trial and then simply be released, to be thanked for one’s service and dismissed with no other words. I would have been pissed. But, as it stands, that didn’t happen to me. The juror in seat three was released.

The judge read us our instructions and then we filed back into our ever familiar jury room.  I took my regular seat and waited to see what would happen next.  First thing was first: we were going to order some lunch. And I was to be the one to record everyone’s order due to my neat handwriting. (I always knew I’d be good for something!) Ordering lunch was a feat in and of itself but we finally got it under control. We called Mike, our court officer, and gave him our order.

That was when deliberations began. During the time it took to figure out what everyone was eating for lunch, we had also decided our foreman. Rather than picking the woman who has sat on a jury every two years since 1985, we went with the man she nominated, who sat in seat number four. We decided to tackle the lesser charges first, and then discuss the big one. It didn’t take long at all to go around the table and say “guilty” to the first count of furnishing alcohol to a minor (Brianna).  We then did the same thing for the second count of furnishing alcohol to a minor (Monika).

To begin our discussion, we went through each of our witnesses and judged his or her credibility. In doing so, we got to hash out all of the details of the case.  We tried to come up with our own timeline of events; we tried to figure out exactly what happened. We tried to determine what seemed to make sense. It was seriously difficult.  That’s when we all started to agree upon all of the holes in the story. We all seemed to have the same questions and a couple of our own theories.

The element of personal injury to the charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree needed to be met. While there had been a 2 millimeter “laceration” noted in the medical records of the victim, the sexual assault nurse examiner couldn’t rule out other causes of the injury, nor could she determine how long that injury had been there. The fact that there was no physical, DNA evidence anywhere could have been overlooked had the story made any sense at all.  The personal vendetta theory that the defense had been working on started to seem more and more likely the more we went over what the witnesses had testified. And don’t even get me started on the 9-1-1 tape. We listened to it at least 7 times. I could probably quote it, verbatim.  The worst part: all of it was a fabrication; the victim’s friend/girlfriend had called 9-1-1 and pretended to be the victim. And when questioned on the witness stand by the prosecuting attorney, who was livid, she didn’t have an explanation for her actions.

All in all, we couldn’t convict him of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree because we all experienced reasonable doubt.  It’s such an interesting concept, one that I didn’t even really understand until I felt it.

When we reached our verdict, I wrote Mike the note (“We have reached a verdict”) since we weren’t allowed to speak to him. Another juror called down to his office and told him we had the note ready. Then we waited a few minutes and were called back into the courtroom.  The judge asked our foreman if we reached a verdict and then he read what we had decided.

I still can’t believe I did this, but when our foreman read the verdict, I was looking at the judge.  Can you believe that? I was looking at the judge, rather than the defendant. I thought to look at him, to read his facial expression, after we had moved onto the lesser charges. I missed his very first reaction to the “not guilty” verdict for criminal sexual conduct. By the time I looked over, he looked relieved. He was shaking the hand of his attorney and he looked… thankful. In my head, I decided he was on the verge of tears because he was so relieved.

As soon as he finished reading our verdict, we were shuffled back into the jury room one last time. We waited only a few minutes before the judge came in and talked to us. She seemed to agree with our verdict, which made me feel even better about the choices we had made. She spoke candidly to us about the case. It was really awesome.

Obviously, I think you all can tell that I really, really loved my jury duty experience. I feel like I can honestly say that it is probably one of the most important things I have ever done, and I just know I’ll never forget it. And, just for the record, I think everyone should sit on a jury at least once. It’s an amazing experience!

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My jury duty service is now over! The trial finished yesterday afternoon, and I’ve been just bursting to tell you what happened!

Here’s the deal, loves: I’ll share my jury duty experience in three parts, starting with my first-day-observations. You know, the words-to-go documents saved on my Crackberry I told you about last week.  I’ll tell you the specifics of the case and then I’ll tell you about our verdict and how deliberations went.

I know you’re all dying to know.

My very first day, just to give you a snapshot of what a mess I was, I texted a friend then decided to tweet the following:

Already got lost, almost cried, forgot to put deodorant on, got wanded by security,& left all my school stuff at home. Today is going so well.

It should be noted that I have, like, zero sense of direction, so I obviously got lost (despite my mapquest directions) on my way to the courthouse. Then, because I was lost and because I’m so anal about not being late for anything ever, I got hysterical. This led to high levels of stress and anxiety, and that led to some degree of perspiration, not that the humidity here in Michigan did anything to help that. And that was when I realized I definitely forgot to put deodorant on. The Horror!! I just kept thinking, I had it in my hand, but did I actually put it on?! and I totally didn’t, which makes me wonder what on earth made me so ADD that morning to forget something so essential?!

I had my final night of my accounting class that evening I realized I didn’t have any of my school stuff after I had already left and didn’t have enough time to turn around and go back.  I wasn’t sure if I would have time in between my jury duty stuff and when I needed to leave to drive the hour and fifteen minutes it takes to get to class from my hometown. MORE PANIC! Why, oh WHY, did I not wear deodorant?! How is it possible to apply my Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue perfume but forget the deodorant?!??! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?!

Once I got past security and followed other people I assumed to be reporting for jury duty down a hallway, I found the jury assembly room. Nothing special. Just a big room with beige walls and lots of chairs. And plenty of opportunity to people-watch and judge ’til my heart was content!  That’s when it struck me to record my thoughts via words-to-go.

Sometimes I have really good ideas.

Title: Jury duty observations

There are several unattractive people here. Many of the people  here in this holding pen have sick coughs. Gloria, in all her monochromatic glory, scanned all of us in. (She’s in charge of wrangling all of us potential-jurors.) She’s fabulous: I love her hair, and her plum colored tank-skirt combo is simply stunning.   She just put in a “movie” for us to watch while we wait in “line” to be scanned in. (This is one of the worst “lines” I’ve ever seen, although it certainly can’t beat the “line” we waited in to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at midnight. That was Terrible, with a capital T.) Some people showed up who did not have to be here. Sucks for them.  I really love the movie 12 Angry Men.  This video being played, as far as I can tell, is a compilation of Hollywood blockbusters that have something, anything!, to do with court, lawyers and the legal system,  and/or the importance of having a jury. I’m in love. Damn, I need to go to law school.

Title: Jury duty observations, part 2

Well, I feel jipped so far; my father indicated that a real-life judge would come in and speak to us about how important juries are and other crap like that. I have not seen any real-life person other than Gloria, who I am certainly not complaining about. I just want more real-life and less late-90s video footage.  This video feels like the craptastic videos I watched in driver’s training or sex ed.  I whisper-laughed to myself a moment ago about this move and looked to see if anyone else was laughing too; no one even looked remotely amused. AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO IS EXCITED TO BE HERE?!?!

Title: Jury duty observations, part 3

Shit, I really, really hope I get picked! I hope I get picked and it’s a sweet case. I hope it’s just like 12 Angry Men and I’m the lone voice of reason. I hope me and my fellow jurors get sequestered and we all become bffs. I hope I end up on The Today Show after the ruling has been made.

Title: Jury duty observations, part 4

I’m bored. Looked through purse for gum. Found some.  Examined split ends. I need a haircut.  Compared the amount of back-fat everyone in front of me has. I should get plastic surgery- I’m much too lazy to do any of that necessary work to get rid of it.  Girl in front of me has a peculiar haircut; I don’t understand it. I can’t tell if I like it. It’s long- reaches mid back- but there are very short layers and not much blending of said layers.  It’s odd to me.  People are starting to get antsy like me.  Gloria’s laugh is funny; I like it.  I wish I wouldn’t have forgotten my backpack at home- actually, more than anything, I wish I wouldn’t have forgotten to apply deodorant today. I’m paranoid I reek.

Title: Part 5

OMG! The judge is ready! In ten minutes (or so, says Gloria), we will head into the court room!  A real-life court room! Gloria explained that we need a “juror badge,” which is really just a sticker- and she even gave instructions!  “Just peel it off, and stick it on!!!” Gosh, I love her!! GLORIA IS AWESOME! AND HILARIOUS! She is making all kinds of jokes and worrrrrrkin’ this room! She’s talking about the “employer verification forms” and how you can take that form back to your employer… or spouse. “It happens!” Bahaha jeeeeez, she is SO great.  She just made a joke about menopause. I love herrrr!

That’s it. That’s all that’s saved on my phone.

Because after that I had to turn my phone off because it wasn’t allowed in the court room.

Part II will be here on Thursday 🙂