You know it’s unfair that I just turned 29 and yet I’ve been on a jury twice, right? -_-
*sigh* No use bitching, I guess. You just have to accept your summons as gracefully as possible. That being said, this trial took four days compared to the one day my last trial took, so it was definitely more tedious. More waiting… On top of more waiting… On top of even more waiting… But at least the people in my group weren’t mostly annoying like the last group I was stuck with. Anyway, the trial is over and I am officially allowed to talk about it. Here I go:
I will not be posting the defendant’s name because (unlike one person in our group) I do believe that it is possible for him to turn his life around. Sure, his name is already on websites with mugshots or whatever, but it’s not my duty to contribute to public records. I will share details with the people I am close to, maybe, but nothing that a future employer can look up. Okay, that’s my piece/decision.
The defendant was… clearly a member of a gang. I did give him the benefit of the doubt despite his face tattoos, but after seeing his social media posts in court I am 100% convinced he is in a gang… because he didn’t exactly hide the fact that he is to begin with. …By the way, can we all come to an agreement to stop posting our entire life on the internet? Seriously, it’s one thing to write about your opinions or hobbies or whatnot, but no one needs to know about the laws you broke or how shitfaced you got last Tuesday. That is not a good look when it comes to things that will ultimately affect your ability to survive (finding a job, staying out of prison, etc.)
It is not against the law to be in a gang, but it is against the law to do illegal shit while in a gang because… illegal… So that was the main issue.
Long story short, someone had a party and her friend told her friend and her friend told his friend and his friend told his friend who happened to be in a gang. They all show up, girl throwing the party says “GTFO”, and the gang is offended because something about having an “A1 face card” and therefore having the right to go to any party they want. Yeah, I don’t get that sense of entitlement either, but welcome to the logic of some human beings. A group of drunk partygoers got into it with some gang members, someone got punched, a phone was stolen, an AK-47 was waved in someone’s face, shots were fired, all around stupidity ensured, etc.
The people involved are in trials of their own, but we were just judging this one guy and determining what crimes he took part in, if any. In the end we felt comfortable saying that he did damage the girl’s property by throwing a chair through her window because two witnesses backed that up, but several witnesses said that someone else was holding the gun and someone else stole the phone (even plead guilty to that in his own trial) and someone else did the punching, so we only charged him with two of the six charges (criminal gang activity and criminal property damage). All in all, I think we were fair.
Some people were complaining about wanting to rush through the deliberation, but most of my fellow jurors agreed that this is someone’s life we have in our hands and we can’t just slap charges on him because he’s in a gang. I don’t like gangs. I don’t like gang members. Hell, I probably wouldn’t even like this guy if I had to deal with him at all in my personal life. But this is not about feelings. It is about logic. …Which one juror did not understand.
At some point, some of us started laughing because this lady just was not getting it. She kept going on about how he was a horrible thug who deserved to be in jail forever, and if a gang harms one of us then we somehow deserve it for not throwing the book at the defendant. I felt myself glaring at her because she just would not shut up about how much she despised this guy. Even when we all came to a consensus to stop inputting our opinions and personal moral views, she just would not stop.
So, I suggested we do anonymous votes (Yay, I was useful this time around!), and the foreman said it was a good idea (Double yay!). We all voted anonymously on the six charges. Easy enough… except for this same lady. She voted guilty for everything, and was the only one who voted guilty on the charges we agreed he was not guilty for. Which is fine. She is entitled to her decisions as a juror, but dammit, woman, stick to it! Each time the designated lady who counted the votes announced that we had one guilty vote, she would throw a tantrum and say, “Fine! I’ll switch to ‘not guilty’! But it’s all your faults if gangs attack your neighborhoods and yadda yadda!” In the end, she buckled to please the majority because she is clearly a feelings-over-logic person… which is great but does not work well in judicial settings. I have to say that was the most amusing part of jury duty next to the defendant feigning ignorance to everything gang related, and getting called out for saying his “B” tattoo is due to being a Red Sox fan… then saying he was a Yankees fan mostly. Can’t make this shit up.
All in all, there is a lesson in all of this: think about your decisions. Really think about them. Getting your feelings hurt and raising hell over a 3-4 hour party and doing time for years is dumb. Trying to completely ruin a person’s life because you just don’t like them is dumb.
Everyone makes mistakes, sure, but please make an active effort not to be so dumb that you end up getting other people hurt as a result. At the end of the day, everyone around you is a human being. You do not have to like everyone. Just acknowledge that they feel like you, love like you, want to survive like you. This weird obsession some people have with kicking others while they’re down to make themselves feel better is so disgusting to me. Stop terrorizing people and just live your damn life. Shit.
From a completely selfish angle, I wouldn’t have to miss work and spend a week in jury duty if people would just get their shit together. None of the trials I had to sit through involved an accident. It was always someone, twice a teenager, making incredibly thoughtless decisions.
Okay, I’m done ranting for now.
It is finally the weekend, and I have to go back to a week’s worth of shit that have been piling up. Joy. I will be enjoying the hell out of Far Cry: Primal and season six of The Walking Dead mostly. I deserve that much. And probably a nice, cold, alcoholic drink. ♥.♥