Everyone arrived on time today and we took one last try to see if anyone would change sides on their feeling about the case. That did not happen and I let the judge know that we were stuck at 6-6 guilty/not guilty. After 30 minutes we were called back to the courtroom and the judge concurred that we had tried and failed to reach a verdict. Whether or not the case was re-tried I do not know, but I did learn something new after we were released from Jury service.
We were allowed to discuss the case with the lawyers about what we felt were the unresolved issues of the case, namely the lack of any corroborating witness for a man being charged with armed robbery in front of other customers. Like I said, you couldn’t see it in the video, and the security person seemed to have selective memory for his version of events even through he was an experienced professional. But back to what I learned….the District Attorney was given no time to prepare the case, he found out that morning of Jury Selection that he would be presenting. It probably made his case weaker as a result. On the other hand, I hope that if the suspect does get off, regardless of what really happened, he learns a valuable lesson and gets a 2nd chance to live a better life and be a better citizen.
I am sorry that we didn’t reach a verdict, but it was a really interesting experience. 4 months ago
We could not start discussing the case until all the Jurors had arrived, so 11 of us waited 15 minutes for the last juror to arrive. Then we could begin. Everyone fell into 2 groups: 1 was regardless of the evidence and video, because the security guard said he saw it then it must be true; 2 was there was no physical evidence of the bottle being taken or the knife shown to the security guard and the fact that no other employee or other witness was presented who saw it either dispite the fact that indeed other witnesses were at the scene as shown by the video.
Based on the lack of evidence, I could not convict on either charge because there was too much reasonable doubt in my mind and even the testimony of the security officer was inconsistent on what he did or did not remember. With no-one changing their minds, the judge allowed us to review the video again and some of the testimony but still no-one would compromise their position. I went home pretty certain that this case would not be resolved by us. 4 months ago
At about 9:30 when everyone was in the courtroom, the lawyers each excused 2 more jurors without explaining why although it probably was from their answers to questions from the day before. So all the new people to replace the people who were excused were then asked the same questions and after another half hour, we were finally ready to start the trial. From the opening statements by the lawyers, the trial would be about whether or not a man stole a bottle of liquor from a drug store and then armed robbery with a knife when confronted by a store security guard outside the store.
After lunch, we heard from only 2 witnesses who were both employees of the drug store working as security officers. One had worked 17 years as an officer and the other had worked only 3 months and was in training. Only 1 had followed the suspect around, then chased him out to parking lot to confront him. He stated that a knife had been pulled out and shown to him as well before the suspect left. When cross examined by the defense, the witness seemed to forget several details of the crime that I felt a normal person would remember if I were in the same situation.
The security trainee could not provide much information at all as she did not witness any of the events that the other security officer reported. Finally we were shown the security video from the store which did not corroborate any of the other testimony because you could not see the liquor being taken or a weapon being seen in the parking lot.
With few other facts being stated, both sides gave closing statements and we had about 30 minutes to chose a foreman and start deliberating. I was chosen as the jury foreman and we had a quick vote (6 guilty/6 not guilty) and we ended up going home for the day after that. 4 months ago
On my 2nd day of calling in to see if I had to report to the court, I found out I would indeed be going to court even through I had worked the night before (blame it on my old manager not wanting to change the schedule). The morning was pretty quiet and I played CIV4 on my laptop to pass the time. But immediately after lunch, I was called for a panel in the criminal division of the court and within a few minutes, I was seated as Juror #6. The questioning of if I had any close friends who were law enforcement (no) and if I had ever been involved in a crime such as robbery (no) took away 4 other members of the Jury that were then replaced. I did answer (yes) to the fact I had been to court before for Traffic Tickets and for Divorce, but the judge reminded everyone that those were OK and not related to the case. The day ended with the lawyers themselves questioning the Jury about answers they had given, but I was never asked a question by them. And it was never asked if I work with police (I do because my job then did support the Los Angeles County Sheriffs who provided security for my agency). Everyone in the jury pool (about 50) were still there when we were told to go home at 4pm and report back the next morning at 9am. 4 months ago
A month ago I received my jury notice and although I postponed by a few weeks, the weeks flew by and this week I am on call for Jury Duty. All the previous times I have reported for jury duty, I was never placed on a panel and only served 1 day (since the rules changed where you call in each night for a week instead of having to come in every day for a week). I don’t really care if I get picked or not, but we will see how this week goes. 12 months ago