11.07.2008

Jury Selection Day 2 Notes

I don't have good notes from Day 1 because I didn't have anything to write on. I learned my lesson and brought my clipboard on Day 2. Here are the things I wrote down.

- The gun owners were almost exclusively white folks.
- Guns elicit some very strong emotional reactions in some of the prospective jurors.
- The prospective jury of the two defendants' peers (two Latino males) includes three Latina women out of 18 and the rest are, generally, of European descent.
- The judge's name is Atack, he should have been a prosecutor.
- Some folks really don't like turning off the ringer on their cellphones.
- The defense criteria for a good juror isn't at all what I expected.
- I have strong doubts about the [other prospective jurors] understanding of what "reasonable doubt" entails.
- Even multiple warnings [from the judge and bailiff] don't stop the ringing cellphones.
- Lawyering is alot like verbal poker, don't show your hand until you have to.

It was shortly after the last observation that we broke for lunch. Almost two hours later when we reconvened, the DA stood with his ADA and requested the charges be dismissed with cause (not enough time was given to the prosecution to adequately prepare the case) to be immediately refiled tomorrow morning.

The judge was rather pissed off about it, the waste of his time, the waste of the court's time, the waste of all the juror's time. But he had to grant the request because defense did not object and it isn't really fair to the prosecution that they didn't have enough time since he only got the case 6 weeks prior.

I had been called up to the jury box and had been directly questioned by the judge, defense counsel and the prosecution. I think I responded reasonably well but always found I had more to add just after they'd moved on to another juror.

All in all, it was an interesting way to spend a couple of days. I think a four or five week trial would have been a wicked grind and I'm glad it didn't go to that but I'm glad I took part.

And the defendants' charges? Nine charges in all, from conspiracy to commit robbery to robbery to felony murder. What they were allegedly a part of went very, very wrong and someone ended up very, very dead.

I don't foresee either of them walking as free men anytime soon even if they do get off, the trial won't start up again for six months or so at the least. And, truth be told, from what little I know and found out, they are both pretty guilty. But, of course, if the trial had taken place, I would have withheld that conclusion until all the evidence and witnesses had been heard. But my gut told me that they were there, they took part and someone ended up dead who didn't deserve to be dead.
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