Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jury Duty

The anticipation of serving on a jury excited me from the moment the notice came in the mail.

During the jury selection process I was asked to state where I was born; where I presently lived; my education level; current occupation; marriage status; my partner's occupation; and if I had ever been a victim of a crime or if any relation had been convicted of one.

The jury that was selected did not represent the demographics of NYC.

In April I spent almost a week as an alternate juror for a burglary trail. Most of the evidence was video captured from surveillance cameras from three business establishments. The plaintiff was accused of breaking into their basement storage areas, taking nothing and leaving behind no prints.

The defendant decided to represent himself.

During the trial he wore the same beige pants that he had worn during a previous arrest. His wardrobe color palette was similar in tone to what the burglar had been wearing but this was not presented as evidence.

After hearing the closing arguments, I was sequestered with two other alternates, including the meteorologist of Fox News and a Latina great-grandmother who spoke compassionately about working with AIDS patients. We told stories since our phones and newspapers were taken away from us. When the jury reached a verdict, we were denied entry into the courtroom.

After calling the courtroom the following day, I learned that the defendant was found guilty.

Is Video recognition enough evidence to convict a person?
How many jurors just wanted to get out of there and decided the defendant was guilty?

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