So, I just had Jury Duty for the first time. I was actually on the jury. Upon retrospect, to an outsider, the case might appear to have been open-and-shut, but it didn’t shake down that way in the deliberation room. We had a lot of difficulty reaching our decision. Also, many weird events took place during this trial, including the ousting of one Jury member, the defense attorney getting sick, and other stuff. Let me tell you all about it.
Names have been substituted to protect my ass. Not as if these thugs even know how to use google; but, just in case… 😉
A woman, “Stella”, 39 years of age, black, with six children, aged 14 to 21, was accused of four felony counts: Conspiracy to commit robbery; robbery; Conspiracy to commit theft; and theft. Why the four counts? Well, according to Indiana law, when a person commits conspiracy to do something, it is the same as doing something, whether or not they or any other party actually follow through.
At 7:45 am, about 30 people arrived in the Jury room. We had to watch some lame videotape describing how cool it is to be a Juror, then they picked Thirteen people as the beginning “Default” jury. Twelve regular, and one backup juror. The backup is only allowed to observe and absorb, not to comment. At first, the lawyers interviewed each person down the line, asking questions about how long they’ve lived in the community, and their beliefs, etc. After the first round, they dismissed six or so of them. THe next replacement batch was called up, and LO! My name was called! I got up into the Jury box, and the prosecutor asked me a couple questions of a mundane nature, then he said, “Now, you have an interesting thing on the survey… you put that ‘you were up for Jury duty before, but that the prosecuting attorney didn’t like me.’ Now, uh, what, uh, What did you mean by that?” I was thinking to myself, “Oh jeez, I was probably a bit faceous and a smart-ass on that form, I don’t even remember!” and my response was, “Oh, well, I don’t really know what I meant by that; I probably just meant that I was out in the outer area, but I was not selected for the actual jury.” I figured, “Oh, i’m outta here.” but, as it turns out, that was not enough to get rid of me. So, then the defense attorney approached. Now, it was strange that her last name was “Hall-Justice”. I tried to Google her, but when you group the words “Hall Justice Defense Attorney”, you get hits that just plain aren’t accurate. A young, very thin, yet with a very attractive face, resembling VERY much the chick from Indiana Jones, pulled out a big billboard that had the different levels of evidence required.
Her strategy was to try and make us have reasonable doubt, which actually did prove to be somewhat of a problem. I felt that she did not use the diversion & red herrings to her advantage; there were aspects of the case that she could have used to try and confuse us. She did not. She asked if we thought that her client being african-american would sway us; I of course said no because I’m not a racist. Then she pointed out that her defendant would not be testifying, and would that be held against her? Well, one person, some good ol’ farmer, said that he thought a person should be honest and if they are honest, they will never need to lie; and thus should always freely be able to take the stand. Um, well, in court, a person may not say anything that can incriminate them. it’s not even legal. So the lawyers finished questioning people, and finally we had our jury. By this time, I was freezing, because the AC was right behind us, and blowing full blast the whole time. I swear it was 62 degrees there.
The next step was for the judge to hand us all a packet of papers that outlined everything we were supposed to do, and how to do it, with the definition of legal terms, etc. About then it was lunch time, so they dismissed the remainder of the people that weren’t chosen, and we 13 (12 regular and one stand-in juror) got to go to the deliberation room, where nothing was really discussed because we didn’t have anything to say, really.
Now, the bailiff, who was sort of our shepherd during this whole thing, was a chatty older gal who was probably almost 60 years old. She fretted and generally talked to nobody in particular if anybody happened to be standing around. Her habits began to annoy me after a time, and I am glad that our interactions were kept to a minimum.
I took off for my office and grabbed my lunch and a sweater to keep myself warm which was a lifesaver.
After lunch, we returned and heard the opening statements. The prosecutor laid it all out before us, all the allegations, and here is what he accused her of.
On to the case.
The first witness was the first officer on the scene. His testimony basically described what he saw & heard from the two clerks, Stella and “Missy”, after the robbery.
On July 24 of 2006, “Stella” was working at a local gas station. That night, around 8:30 pm, it was noticed by the other clerk that the keys to the drop-box, where the cashiers put the cash from the register, were left in the lock. The other clerk, a young, attractive girl, “Missy”, suggested that Stella call the assistant manager or manager to tell them the keys were left in the drop box. Well…. Stella didn’t do that. Instead, she called her SON. Now, her son, “Randy”, seemed to be basically a gang-banger, or thug, if you will, who rolls with some other thugs. Randy received the call on his cell phone, while he was riding in the car of marvin “Gay” smith or some shit. This guy had the coolest name. He was the driver. a 3rd thug, “Ant”, was also in the car. Well, Anthony testified in court against Stella. His testimony was what really was the lynchpin. According to him, they drove to the scene, checked it out, and decided that it was easy pickin’s. They went back to a nearby apartment, grabbed a mask, a toy gun, and gloves, then Marvin Gay “Gaylord” what’s-his-name drove the getaway vehicle. Bubba donned the mask, while Stella cloistered herself back in the back room.
We saw all this unfold on the security tape, and it did reach a time, eventually, where we had to reach the conclusion that…she was guilty. THis was in 2006.
editor’s note: This blog post was saved as a draft in 2006. It was not finished.