Monday, April 13, 2009

Jury Duty - Take 3 - The Story

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Essentially the story was this:
Two crackheads meet at rehab - 40-year-old Wayne Hunter and 47-year old Carolyn Johnson. They become friends, lovers and then live-in lovers. That, it seems, is where things began to go awry. They both began using again, and the week prior to the incident had been on an almost 24-hour crack binge. On the morning in question, Mr Hunter attacked Ms. Johnson with a hammer, wounding her head and breaking bones in both her hands. Depending on whose story you believed, he either held her hostage for several hours and raped her, OR after he bludgeoned her with the hammer, they reconciled and had makeup sex. 

He was charged with 26 crimes - several contempt charges relating to an order of protection which Mr. Hunter disregarded when he contacted Ms. Johnson over several months during his initial incarceration, two assault charges and three rape charges.

Ultimately our decision came down to their two stories, some shaky forensic evidence, and the letter of the law.  I knew it was going to be a tough decision when we argued for 3 hours about one of the contempt charges. The assault charges were easy. There was DNA evidence from the hammer. But the rape charges . . . we just couldn't agree. Most of us were leaning toward guilty except for two jurors. One of them TOTALLY had a Rihanna complex and felt sorry for the defendant and thought we were all being unfair to him.  Geez. I made her cry about that crazy business. Anyway, after the judge clarified for us that the defendant had to KNOW he didn't have consent in order to be charged with rape, several of us changed our mind. There just wasn't enough evidence to prove what went on in that apartment.

So, unable to come to unanimous agreement on the rape charges and one of the contempt charges after 12 hours of deliberation, the judge took a partial verdict from us on the remaining charges, assuring, at least, that he would stay in jail a bit longer.

After the trial was over, the attorneys wanted to talk to us, and we gave them a bit of insight into our thinking. They said the defendant had a history of violence against women, and they were planning to retry him in a couple of weeks on just the rape charges. 

They should be picking the new jury this week.

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