Friday, October 01, 2010

The case heats up then winds up

Disclaimer: This case has been completed and the jury released from the judge's admonition not to discuss the case.  

I had misunderstood just how far we had gotten on our case after one day.  Turns out that the defense had not even started presenting their case.  And testimony was delayed about an hour while the two atttorney's addressed the issue of a CHP officer who assisted in preparing the report.  When both sides finally agreed as to what the officer would have said if he could have come to witness, we began the court activities again.

To insure that the jury got the message from the defendant's brother, the prosecutor called the Private Investigator who interviewed the brother shortly after the incident.  His testimony was basically the same as the brother's.

The defense recalled the CHP officer and tried again and again to show how his statements were inconsistent and therefore couldn't be relied on for information.  Again and again he tried to make the officer take responsibility for reports he hadn't written so he could show that there are inconsistencies.  It got to be a big turn-off.

Finally, the judge announced that we would hear closing statements.  There were almost identical  with the opening statements except that now we were more familiar with the facts of the case and could see how everything fit together.

Following the prosecutor's last words, the judge read the instructions to the jury - a 20 minute exercise.  We were then escorted to a completely different floor and part of the building where we were introduced to our deliberation room.  After a short break we were locked in the room and told to do our thing.

The first order of business for a jury just starting deliberations is to choose a foreman.  Because I had said I had been a CEO one woman nominated me.  I agreed to serve if chosen.  Another man in the group nominated himself, giving as his reason, his experience being a jury foreman in two other cases.  I agreed he had more experience than I so I would have no problem supporting him.  He was then selected by acclimation.

With less than an hour to deliberate, the foreman suggested we use the time to introduce ourselves and get to know one another a little better.  I'm sure I wouldn't have thought of it but it really was a good thing to do.  It made future discussions much more fruitful and less adversarial.

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