Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jury Duty - Take 2 - Juror #11

Cross Examination - The Hung Jury (Cover Artwork) 
I know when it happened. During the Voir Dir (which they pronounce the French way, not the Texas way wink wink Lady Lawhorn), I got all Type A - wanting to answer all the questions correctly. What a jackass.  So when the assistant district attorney, a competent young Asian woman, asked if a victim had to fight back in order for a rape to occur, I said no, that I could imagine a scenario where someone could be held against their will, threatened or too fearful to fight. Ding ding ding!  You are the next contestant on The Perp Ain't Right.  So that's how I became Juror #11 in The People of the State of New York vs Wayne Hunter, a trial that would last 7 days.

Let me set the scene first. Windowless courtroom. No cool murals like on TV. Ramshackle judge's desk. Clerk desk, computer and file cabinets NEXT TO the judge's desk.  1 baliff and 3-4 other security personnel with two desks behind the attorney's tables, equipped with phones (which they would use in the middle of testimony. Wha?)  Anyway, not the pristine environment they show on TV. 

Then there's this little side story. It took two days to pick the jury. I was chosen on Day 2. Apparently the Day 1 jurors really bonded, to the point that when the Day 2 jurors showed up, Day 1 had created their own clique - one that didn't include the Day 2 jurors. They would sit together, eat lunch together, share vacation photos. The exclusion was tight. One day four of us ran out for coffee during a break. I was last to get my order. The other three left together but did not wait for me. Wah wah.

A little more drama happened on the second day of testimony. Midday, the judge began to look purple. He stopped the trial and shuffled out the back door. An ambulance was called. We were all sent home. No one knew what had happened.  Turned out he had the "flu". Read: the runs. We were dismissed for the day and only worked half day the next day.  As a result of THAT little trend, on the following day of testimony we were dismissed for two hours for lunch.  (I know. Two hours, WTF. We started at 10 am and had two hour lunches. No wonder the trial took 7 days . . .) Anyway, one of the jurors, an older gentleman with two hearing aids "misheard" the judge and thought we were dismissed for the afternoon again. He didn't return after lunch. Jesus Christ.

So finally, the trial got underway in earnest. We heard from the victim, the defendant, CSI, SVU, two detectives, two doctors, some friends, etc.

The worst day? When they displayed the GIANT va-jay-jay diagram ALL DAY and kept pointing at it and drawing on it. Shudder.


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