Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome to our Ool

Both of mine are like the one on the left. Weird.
So remember this?  Guess who has two clubbed thumbs and got selected and is summoned to report for Jury Duty on January 8?

Oy vey.  Did I ever tell you about the last time I had jury duty?

The case involved a guy who went to this girl's house and hit her new boyfriend upside the head with a tire iron.  That wasn't a question - the guy pretty much admitted it.  Our only duty as a jury was to find the guy guilty of either a) assault or b) assault with a deadly weapon.

The guilty part took like 10 seconds.  But then it got weird.  The definition of "deadly weapon" is pretty clear to anyone with an IQ above produce - if the weapon used in the manner that it was could kill someone, then it's a deadly weapon.  So it has nothing to do with the instrument itself - it's the manner in which it's used that matters.  Stuffing marshmallows down someone's throat could be considered "assault with a deadly weapon" if the person could reasonably have died from the action - whether he actually died or not is only relevant in deciding whether the bad guy gets assault-with-a-deadly or murder.  With me?

So any REASONABLE person would agree that a tire iron, when used in the manner it was used in (bashing upside the head) COULD kill someone.  It was only dumb luck that it didn't.  And they had plenty of evidence that the bad guy had hit the other guy (who wasn't much of a peach, himself) in the head.  Pictures, etc.

I guess the prosecutor didn't explain it at a Kindergarten level (oh who am I kidding, Claire would have done better than the people I served with), though, because they refused to understand that it was a deadly weapon - even though the guy didn't die.  And when I held my ground, as the jury foreman, and insisted on not returning a verdict until I was exhausted (I was pregnant with Claire at the time, and I had been there 12 hours), they started just making crap up.  I remember one woman in particular saying, "We don't know that he hit him in the head with a tire iron.  He could have fallen and hit his head on the TV."

The lawyers actually came up to me after the trial, when I finally gave in (it was everyone against me, and they were getting kind of scary, and I was like, "Screw it, I don't care enough to get my ass kicked by these idiots,") and said, "OMGWTFBBQ?" and I said, "You didn't explain the deadly weapon part at all, and they didn't understand, and I tried everything I could to convince them, but they were not smart people."

It was awesome.

So I am greatly looking forward to Tuesday, y'all.  You can bet that I'll have a story, no matter what happens.  Maybe I'll liveblog.

Have you ever been a juror?


Rob Monroe said...

The one time I got a summons they forgot to put "II" (the second) on my name, so my grandfather went. He was dismissed immediately.

No, wait - I got a summons in Maryland for two weeks after we moved, so I guess I have accidentally dodged it twice!

Amy Austin said...

You're a lucky guy, Rob! I don't deal well with that much frustration.

Liz said...

I got a summons once but was able to defer because I was breastfeeding. My husband and my sister are both in the pool right now. There is a big murder trial coming up so we are hoping they can both avoid that. Good luck!

Cheryl Talma said...

omg - I am still laughing about this post. I've always wanted to be chosen for jury duty, but I can see now that my failure to receive a summons is actually a blessing in disguise.

Amy Austin said...

Thanks Cheryl! Happily I didn't have to go - the recording the night before said that they'd settled. PHEW! Maybe the judge reads the blog? :)