Jury Duty today - Captain's Log, Supplemental — LiveJournal
Jury Duty today|
I got to be on a Jury today. It was a nice experience, to see justice administered by the community, and helps one appreciate what's so special about the freedom we have in this country.
We found the defendant Not Guilty, in case anyone was curious.
Tags: jury duty
What were the details of the case?
It was a driving-under-the-influence charge. The defendent was coming home from a friend's house where he had a couple beers (his friend testified that they split a 6-pack). The officer pulled him over for speeding (doing 70 in a 50). In the officer's opinion, he smelled alcohol and the defendent failed the road sobriety tests. However, it sounded to me (and the other jurors) like the failures were something anybody might do if they were a little tired coming home at 3 in the morning and pulled over on a major highway with cars whizzing by. In short, it was possible that he was violating the law, but we weren't convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hooray for people understanding what that phrase truly means!
The judge did a wonderful job explaining things like that, too.
How did he end up not being tested for alcohol more directly (blood or breath)?
I'm not sure. It didn't come up in the trial. Maybe the cop's instrument was broken. Maybe he thought it was so obvious that he didn't need it. Maybe the defendent refused it (per his 5th amendment rights), and thus we wouldn't have heard about it.
If I had to guess, I'd say the defendant refused it and the defense lawyers managed to convince the judge to prohibit the prosecution from mentioning that during the trial.
I'm jumping to conclusions, but it appears that if one wants to avoid taking responsibility for drunk driving, refusing tests would be a good idea.
Any idea if there's a procedure for the jury to ask questions that come up during deliberations?
Well, since the defendent is allowed to not incriminate himself, I don't think we could be told, even if we ask. The judge implied that during his post-trial informal chat with the jury. Presumably, the prosecutor would have brought it up if it (a) were legal to do so and (b) would help the state's case.
If the jury has a question during deliberations, we need to write it down, seal it in an envelope, call the Court Officer, tell him we have a question, wait for the court to reassemble (including the lawyers for each side and the judge), and then the judge reads the question. I don't think that the questions are supposed to be of the type where the jury questions the witnesses, though... More likely, we could ask to replay part of the recording of the witnesses' testimony or somesuch.