Didn't you make a post about your jury experience?
No. I intended to, but for various reasons that I'll not go into, I didn't feel like doing much of anything at that time. By the time I dug myself out of that temporary funk I couldn't really remember all that I wanted to say. Here are some hastily thrown together details.
All in all, being on a murder jury was pretty surreal. Thankfully, MI abandoned the death penalty back in 1847 (according to Wikipedia, it was the first English speaking jurisdiction to do so), so I didn't have to wrestle with that choice. Were it an option, I assume the prosecution would have requested it. The guy on trial killed a disable man for his SSI money, the check for which he had just cashed at a liquor store. There were two defendants, actually. They were being tried separately by two juries at the same time. There was one piece of testimony that was inadmissible for us to hear, but not for the other defendant's jury. So for those 15 minutes, we stepped out of the court. Otherwise, it was two simultaneous trials. Our kid was 23. The other was 17. 17.
It was an interesting experience seeing the legal system from the inside out, at least hearing arguments was interesting. Most of the 7 or 8 days were spent in isolation rooms, which was torture. I don't mind being in isolation, because I can read until my eyeballs bleed, and I'm all the happier for it. The other 13 jurors...not so much. All they did was complain about how bored they were. That was the worst part. I have a very short fuse with complainers. For most of 7 days (arguments were only 1-3 hours per day), I was forced into a small conference room with 13 strangers who incessantly bitched about how there's nothing to do. One girl brought a magazine a couple days, but other than that, not a soul brought reading materials (and any devices were strictly forbidden). I couldn't believe it.
I was convinced enough that these people were big enough morons that I essentially appointed myself foreman, not being able to abide any of them running a meeting. I knew the kid was guilty. Everyone else knew the kid was guilty. But still, I made us run through every possible scenario in which we could think of a reasonable doubt about his guilt. It took about 12 hours of deliberation. In the end, there was no other choice. The kid didn't flinch when the verdict was read.
The most interesting part was after the trial was over, both the prosecution and defense invited us for interviews to determine what they did well and what they did poorly. It was very enlightening, because at that time, the prosecutor was able to fill us in on all the details that weren't admissible, including a cell phone video of the kids waving guns around and doing drugs. Apparently, since it couldn't be determined if any was the gun used in the crime, the video would be considered "prejudicial". Also, there were two eye witnesses whom the prosecution called. Neither provided any informative details to the jury, and each denied saying that they said the things that the police had written in their report that they said (which, apparently were repeated in subsequent pre-trial interviews with the prosecutor), much to the dismay of the prosecutor. As it turns out, on the day they were called, the whole rest of the gang with whom the defendants were affiliated packed the court gallery to intimidate the guys. It made sense, because the one guys looked scared out of his mind and the other almost didn't say a word. The prosecutor informed us that this gang's MO was basically to rob disabled people and the elderly of their government checks.
Of course you hear about murders when you live in the ghetto (or anywhere if you turn on the news), and you hear the gunshots from time to time, but it's different to be faced with the accused and the details of their crime. How much money can an SSI check be made out for? $500? $1000? I have no idea. Apparently, there are areas in the US where that is a sum worth the life of a father of 5. Hard to comprehend, really, that such places exist not more than a few miles from civilization. These guys had to go; I'm glad they're in jail. But still, my heart broke a little bit having to have a hand in their fate. I felt (and still feel) no sense of pride or accomplishment, only sadness for everyone involved.