Last week I had the 'honor' of participating on a jury panel for the first time. To be honest, I was kind of excited about it -- I know that lots of folks dread this, but I really wanted to see how the court system operated.
Well, I'm glad I took a good book! I was able to read the third book in Camy Tang's Sushi Series, Single Sashimi, all the way through on the first day! (This is a fabulous book, by the way. I loved the whole series). About 200 people sat in a large room for two hours before anyone was called to be on a panel of jurors. I was called in the third panel, and for some reason I was chosen to be on the jury.
We heard a felony robbery case. In case you wondered, it was definitely not like anything on tv. The defendant was charged with reaching over the top of a jewelry case in a pawn shop, opening the cabinet and taking out trays of jewelry. No one even checked for fingerprints! The only evidence against him was the memory of the pawn shop owner (somewhat faulty), identification in a line up a month later, and the fact that he sold a piece of the stolen jewelry the next day about three blocks away in another pawn shop (no one said he was smart...).
It was interesting to see the different approaches taken by the lawyers. Actually, the way the defendant's lawyer approached the case made me more convinced that the defendant was guilty than some of the evidence! The jury deliberated for about an hour and we had some good discussions before we finally all agreed -- guilty.
It was two interesting days...and I'm not against doing it again. It was rather fascinating to watch the trial and to see the reactions of twelve different people who all heard the same things. I do have to say that I'm glad I wasn't chosen in the first round of jurors -- those folks 'got' to be sequestered for two weeks!
I also learned that I never want to get a loan from a pawn shop (well, I kind of knew that already...). They charged a slight 283% interest! Amazing.