Jan 30, 2009

Court

I don't really want to talk about the court case this week. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting. Jury duty means a lot more than I ever imagined. Never in a million years did I imagine myself sitting on a murder trial. But I did. As juror #2. It was an unforgettable experience. I hope no one has to go through what we did. Parts of me are very glad that we had the jurors that were there. I can honestly and truly say that the defendant had the most caring jurors he could possible have. Each and every one of us struggled with our decisions. It was not an easy case. I've copied the newspaper story below. Parts of it are wrong. Parts have been slightly pulled in one direction or another. It was never stated that the reasoning for the gun was due to gang activity. Gang actvitiy had nothing to do with this crime. To be completely honest, while we considered things that happend in the past, the point was that this man killed someone. We had to use the facts and testimony that had been presented and apply the law to the case.

Law is hard. It's not cut and dry. We had to look at many different angles in this case. We wanted very badly to reach a verdict of second degree murder but it was not possible. Given the circumstances, the facts, the testimony of the defendant, we could not do it. The defendant made a very bad judgement call and because of that mistake, he was convicted. Every single juror wished we could turn the evidence to make it second degree, but we couldn't do it. We even asked the judge to clarify specific parts of the law but he was unable to assist us in this and stated that the law was written in simple language that we should be able to understand and interpret.

Every juror maintained an open mind. NO ONE was against the defendant and I was so proud to be part of a jury that was so open and honest. We had a diverse group and I think each of us was there for a purpose. Several jury members were emotional. While I wasn't visibly emotional during the trial, I would be lying if I said I never cried. We knew the impact of our decision. We all knew that if our verdict was first degree murder, this man would serve a mandatory sentence of life in prison. We took our role very seriously and I think that the defendant and his family should know that. (Though I doubt they'll ever read this blog!)

There are so many more things to write, especially in response to the article below. Maybe at some point but today, I don't have it. I need a break. A man, a young man, will be spending the rest of his life in prison because of a decision that was made yesterday. Knowing that I was part of that is a lot to digest.

Jury finds man guilty of murder
Friday, January 30, 2009

*Edited 22/05/09 to remove newspaper story

3 comments:

Kalaya said...

Gin, I am so sorry you had to go through that. Your phrase, "A man will spend life in prison because of a decision I helped to make." ...Wow... That really hits home for me, and I can only imagine all the emotions that would tie into everything, but still knowing you did the right thing, and that is what had to be done.

I am keeping you in my prayers tonight, amiga.

Elftea said...

see the system works

marie said...

As mother of the victim Kenneth Andrews I can honestly say to you and the other jurors "Thank You". However no one wins, because I still do not have my beloved Kenny and the mother is without her boy. So many nights I have lay awake waiting for closure that I thought this trial would bring, however no closure has been brought. I still have my loving memories.

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
-Anonymous
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub