I woke in the wee dark hours of the night, and could hear bad people clamoring outside my bedroom window. I hunkered down in my bed waiting for the worst to happen. Not too worry, shortly thereafter I really woke up. I'd had the b'jillionith 'anxiety' dream I've had since early December when I became a juror in a criminal trial, a murder trial.
Earlier today I tallied up the votes of 11 jurors and myself and felt my heartbeat surge when we came in anonymous in our agreement of second degree murder. Mind, I'm guessing that all of the jurors believe the defendant is guilty of murder in the first degree, but unfortunately, the trail & its evidence as presented to us was so cold and so full of hearsay, we couldn't say so within a reasonable doubt. Were the vote strictly based on gut feelings I am sure we would have gone with first degree murder.
Later, in the courthouse halls after the verdict was read aloud in court, we all had a long chat and got to hear the REAL story from the District Attorney himself. Finally we got to hear what happened leading up to the trial that ended today. Turned out this was the defendant's second trial; the last one ended in a hung jury. The hung jury resulted from just one juror who refused to find the defendant guilty of any crime at all. My jury thinks that former juror must have had her head up her but for now justice prevails.
A few years ago I was on a civil trial and at that trial's end I hadn't learned the name of even one other juror, but for this heart wrenching criminal trial I learned all eleven names and formed respect for everyone in the group, much the same as if were all survivors of a bus crash. We're hoping to get together for a reunion dinner some time in the future.
I must say, nothing like a jury trial to fill you full of patriotic feelings of justice, fair play and such. As stands, the defendant will receive 17 years to life. Here's the rub; the defendant incited, lied and cajouled 2 others to do a brutal murder for him. Then, because the other two individuals (already tried and sentenced) were honest and truly remourseful, they were given long and brutal sentences. But the lying, unremorseful, unrepentant clown we made judgement of for today? He got the shortest sentence of the three of involved in the murder, even though the murder had been solely his idea. The other two were just ignorant, drug addled fools - abeit violent fools - going along with someone else's plan. That so totally sucks.
And of course, the real victims in this are the family and friends of an 18 year old man-child who died in a pool of blood in a city park rest room because he had the bad luck to piss off a very clever and very bad man.