Saturday, November 07, 2009

Life, Interrupted

Whew! It's good to have my life back again! I got called in for jury duty. It was an unsavory case involving child molestation. I guess all court cases involve wrongdoing, but this one was particularly ugly and we sat through days long recitals of lies, accusations and hurt feelings.

The jury group was a real cross section of ages and types of people, but all of us had this in common. We had lives that we missed and we resented the time gone, but were sincerely dedicated to trying to do the best job we could in finding justice.

It was tough, trying to wade through all the information we'd been given, but we spent hours carefully sifting through the notes we all took and settling all of our questions. We even drew up a time line to try to figure out when things happened.

In the end, the defendant pled guilty in hopes of a light sentence, and we didn't have to deliver a judgement. It was quite a learning experience, and all of us reported nights of tossing and turning, worrying about the child in the case, and frustration at the lack of information we were provided.

We were very impressed with the Judge, bailiff and court workers, not so much about the organization of the lawyers involved, and grateful that we could go home and get our lives back.

My lasting impressions from the experience are these. Stupidity is not criminal, but may look like it. Be careful how you handle the precious children in your lives. And if you see something that makes you wonder about how a child is being related to--step up, don't let it continue.

I also was left with a serious admiration for my fellow jurists, who all, without exception, tried so hard to fulfill our civic duty and find the right and true and just answer in this case.