Friday, October 24, 2008

Jury Duty

I have spent the last four days at the courthouse serving as a juror. It definitely was an eye-opener. When I received my summons to report for jury duty, the one thing I hoped for was to NOT be faced with a criminal trial involving harm to children. Well, that's exactly what it was.

We were instructed by the judge to presume the defendant to be innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, and I did just that. I listened, I took notes, and I thought day an night about everything I had heard and seen. In the end, it was one person's word against another's. The prosecution did not give us clear answers to some of the significant arguments presented by the defense. We ultimately had to vote "Not Guilty". The reason is because the State has the burden of proof. They have to prove that the defendant is guilty; however, we had nearly eight areas of reasonable doubt. This does not mean that I think the defendant is innocent. It just means that according to the law and also according to my conscience, I cannot convict someone when I have reason to believe that they themselves could be the victim of false accusations.

It was very frustrating, but we all did what we were supposed to do according to the judge's instructions and that's how our system is designed. It's obviously not perfect, but it is considered by many to be the best in the world.

1 comment:

LoveLladro said...

Isn't the law an interesting beast? I have learned so much more than I ever thought possible by being married to a lawyer. He helps me understand why certain things happen in the courtrooms... even if they don't always seem fair.