What I Learned During a Week of Jury Duty
Simultaneously fascinating and boring, dramatic and dull.
- •My summons were while @Serial s1 aired, and in Mayland.(Not Baltimore though.) (But I get to say "Well, in MY experience with Maryland's criminal court..." like a total jerk ever since.)
- •I knew I'd be picked.I had a low juror number and my kindly appearance / millennial age probably made them overlook my Gryffindor spirited passion for true justice and fairness.
- •People do try hard to not be selected.But they made a nursing mom be on the jury :|
- •WHITE NOISE.The court I was in put on loud white noise over speakers whenever someone approached the bench, whether lawyers asking something privately or during Voire Dire and it made me soooo sleepy.
- •The First 48 is incredibly accurate.The interview we watched had the same techniques for getting a guy to talk as the ones on First 48 if you've seen enough episodes. (Which I definitely have.)
- •It's a lot of hurry up and wait.Pay attention, and then you are suddenly required to take a break but you don't know for how long, sit in a tiny room with people you have nothing in common with.
- •Trial lawyers really do need to be Buting and Strang.The ability of a trial lawyer to come across to the jurors as likable, intelligent, prepared, tough, and relatable matters a lot in the degree to which jurors believe you, follow your words, pay attention, and care.
- •Detectives can be shitty at their job sometimes.During the video confession, the defendant finally said "Ok I'll tell you the truth finally if you turn off the cameras." They told him they would, and one cop left. Now once you signed understanding your rights, they have no obligation to turn the camera off even if they say they will. And as he's telling the story, the idiot cop TURNED OFF THE RECORDING for most of the confession.
- •Witnesses don't answer questions very directly on the stand. They put their opinion in there.Lawyers don't jump on making sure they just answer the question with yes or no, like I have thought / seen / been told.
- •Being "under oath" won't stop people from lying.People will swear on the bible to tell the truth, and then get on the stand and tell obvious, bold faced lies. No moments of admitting a lie, but obvious things told with a blank face.
- •A lot of arguing over small details.Like colors and definitions and sizes. Not joking. (Evidence reported and found from the robbery.)
- •The defendant will try to seem like a really good person.Which is weird if/when you know/find out they are really not.
- •I am not comfortable being in the same room as a gun.As an armed robbery case, there was a shotgun in a white evidence box in the jury room with us while we deliberated. Obviously it had no bullets. But I was so uncomfortable and scared just knowing it was in that box.
- •The way laws are written is crucial for conviction.Just like how Texas only charged Bob Durst with 1st degree murder and not desecrating a body, a jury has to be certain of certain wordings on convicting someone of a charge. You might be sure they did something, but you can't prove the statement the law is defined as with evidence from the trial.
- •You might have someone on your jury who doesn't care what happens to you.This one guy said he just wanted to go home and would vote with the majority either way. (I should mention there were seven felony counts in this case. That's so many years of a person in jail or free to comfortably shrug about.)
- •Be on a jury.Because it's important. And fair. Really interesting sometimes. And you'd want someone to treat a trial you were in with as much consideration as you can give to another case.