Friday, July 31, 2009

If You See the Messiah Coming Cross the Street

I completed my service on Jury Duty today and justice was served. Sort of. My camera was confiscated the first day upon entering the building but you can't blame a juror for trying. I did manage to pop off a few, not terribly interesting, snaps later with my phone. None of them were made in the courtroom during proceedings. They would have put my ass in stir if they caught me making pictures there. The criminal trial lasted 5 days. It involved a man, ironically a crime reporter, who was mugged at gunpoint by two teenagers 4 years ago. His civil rights were violated. Unfortunately for him there were no other witnesses and no physical evidence. The arresting officer was away much of the last four years while serving in Iraq and the trial was held up until last week. Not only was I fascinated and engaged from the get go but I also earned myself a cool 200 bucks! I saw the proceedings as a kind of verbal chess match confined by a large but narrow set of rules played out on various chess boards simultaneously. Another thing I was not surprised by, but was fascinated to watch play out, was that, aside from the judge, everyone in the court room lies and or misleads. Everyone. The victim of the crime, the "alleged" perpetrator, the prosecutor, the defense and even some of the jurists. Testimony by the complainant is rehearsed, altered and exaggerated with the help of the Prosecutor. The defense erects a series of smoke screens and obfuscation designed to confuse, blunt and raise doubts. Jurists who are instructed to not be influenced by events outside of the proceedings are. In the end we had little to no evidence to consider and had to decide whether the victim's choosing of the defendant from a line up, 10 months after the crime, was enough evidence alone to convict. While I personally believe that the defendant was most likely guilty I had to, based on the rules of the game and what little was presented in court, agree with my fellow jurors that there was too much reasonable doubt to apply a guilty verdict. And so Messiah, yes that was the defendant's real name, walked out a free and innocent man in the eyes of the law.

Jury Waiting Room

Perp Walk. But not "the" perp in question.

Legal Water

A Hall of Justice

View From The Jury Room

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