06 December, 2014

Jury duty - part 1

So I spent the last 3 weeks on jury duty. I'd always wanted to have the opportunity to serve, but had never been called until now. I have to say this was most educational and probably one of the most difficult things I've been asked to do.

The first day had quite a few dockets, but I wasn't selected and was released around 4 or so. We had orientation and video to watch that morning prior to any jurors being selected. The second day there were a couple of cases and then the third case I was the final juror selected of ~ 50. We were sent to the 9th floor and filled the jury box and both sides of the audience seating. The judge spoke to us and then the prosecution and defense began voir dir. According to Wikipedia: 
"In the United States, it now generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being chosen to sit on a jury. "Voir Dire is the process by which attorneys select, or perhaps more appropriately reject, certain jurors to hear a case."[4] It also refers to the process by which expert witnesses are questioned about their backgrounds and qualifications before being allowed to present their opinion testimony in court. As noted above, in the United States (especially in practice under the Federal Rules of Evidence), voir dire can also refer to examination of the background of a witness to assess their qualification or fitness to give testimony on a given subject.[5] Each of these types of voir dire is taught to law students in Trial Advocacy courses.[6]"

That was educational to be sure. We were asked questions and allowed to approach the bench if we had anything we wished to say in private to the judge and counsel. There were a couple of rounds of some being dismissed and replaced with new jurors from the pool. On the final day of voir dire those of us left were asked to sit only in the audience seating as the jury box would be saved for the final selection of jurors. Fifteen were selected and sat through the trial. Mine was the 15th number called. We were always referred to by our numbers and our identity was anonymous save the judge and counsel. 

The case we heard was the Commonwealth of KY vs. Dejuan Earl Hammond. The charges were complicity to murder, retaliation against a participant in the legal process, intimidation of a participant in the legal process, and  unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile. There was no hard physical evidence. There were plenty of video of interviews with witnesses though. We watched hours of video and then the witnesses were brought in and mostly said they "did not recall".  That was a most frustrating thing to sit through.

to be continued...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have my attention!