Posts Tagged ‘Judge’

… ok. So considering everything that happened to Chief and me last January with his being arrested :: read the TRAVESTY category :: .. there were a lot of people who told me that I was too close to the situation to see it fairly. That the police department, judge, DA’s Office is my town are “.. only doing their jobs” and acting on tips from “reliable” sources.

Yeah.

Ok.

Whatever.

I’m not going to rehash everything here. Just read those posts OR if enough people want, I’ll just post the crib note version.

At any rate… THIS is what I wanted to post about. And mind you, this happened in the town I live in where there’s only 1 judge and 4 police officers.

About a month ago, a 17 year old was riding his bike through the park. He was approached by a 19 year old who, with a bunch of friends, tried to steal the 17 year old’s bike. There was a confrontation and the 17 year old stabbed the 19 year old with a pen knife. The 19 year old suffered a collapsed lung and was in the hospital for a week.

The 17 year old was arrested for attempted murder and aggravated assault. Don’t remember how much the bail was.. but it was high.

Fast foward and what comes to light? The fact that this 19 year old’s posse video taped the whole thing and put it up on YouTube :: it’s since been taken down ::

The video tape CLEARLY shows what transpired and how the 17 year old’s last resort was to stab the 19 year old.

The attempted murder charge was dropped but the aggravated assault charge isn’t.. so basically, this kid is facing 20 years in jail and a felony tag for clearly defending himself.

The 19 year old wasn’t charged with anything.

The family of the 17 year old doesn’t want to talk to the press because they’re afraid it would have an adverse reaction for the 17 year old. Because, like, we all KNOW that that doesn’t happen, right??

When questioned by the well respected reported writing the story, the Chief of Police :: who’s a real dick, btw :: admitted that the pen knife was just that.. a pen knife. Not a switchblade.. Not a hunting knife.. not even ILLEGAL to carry. In fact, the 19 year old only got away with a collapsed lung because he was stuck with a pen knife.

He also said that the 19 year old hasn’t been charged with anything and won’t be charged with anything.

The ADA.. when questioned about the situation.. said:

the law says you cannot use deadly force unless deadly force is used against you

Um.. yea.. that’s not what that state law allows for the use of lethal force any time a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him

State law allows for the use of lethal force any time a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him

The ADA said that that was true but that the 17 year old had no reason to believe that force was going to be used.

Are you SERIOUS? This man is actually getting PAID to defend our laws and prosecute those who break them??

The 19 year old even said that he was being aggressive and confrontational.. he was with a bunch of his friends.. the 17 year old was by himself.. wouldn’t YOU feel threatened? Especially considering everything else that is going on in and around this town and county?

This isn’t a case of speculation… THERE IS A VIDEO TAPE OF THE WHOLE THING.. so instead following the law.. instead of protecting our justice system.. these Barney Fife’s are trying doing the complete opposite.

Now tell me.. after everything with Chief and the case above, do you wonder why I have complete distrust?

Comments MORE then welcome!

Ok…

So my girl Jen512 wanted to hear about this.. this.. um.. “experience” :: for lack of a better word :: so while I have some time to kill before starting dinner, I figured I’d tell you about my day of civic duty in the new county I live in.

Before moving into suburbia, I lived my whole life in a very large urban city. Jury Duty in the city was simple. You basically showed up.. indulged in the burnt coffee and stale donuts they provided as a “thank you for showing up”.. sat.. waited.. waited.. sat.. collected your 9.00 check and went home.

I really have no idea who the people who actually sit in the jury box during trials are because as God is my witness.. NO ONE was ever picked from the huge room of potential jurors that sat there with me each time I went.

But anyway…

So here’s the thing… I may grumble about going. It may be an inconvenience to go… but I really don’t mind it. It’s like going to the gynecologist. You don’t REALLY want to go.. but it’s a necessary evil that once you get there, really isn’t so bad.

On with it..

So I moved into this county in November 2007 and in less then a year, I get the jury summons.

In the city, it was basically a post card that asked if you were a citizen.. if you were ever convicted of a felony.. if you understood English and if you needed someone to help you answer the questions.

Honest to God.

Here in the county, the questionaire is SIX FREAKIN’ PAGES long and includes questions about how exactly lives in your household.. what they do for a living.. how old they are.. what their relationship is to you.. if they’ve ever been arrested..etc.

So I fill it all out and mail it back it and then am given a time and date to show up. Oh.. and a number. I’m given a number. My number was 104 or something like that.

Anyway.. the day comes and there is a torrential down pour. It was a miserable fucking day but I have my handbag full of snacks and puzzle books and reading books and magazines and everything else I can think of that would stave off boredom for the 8 hours I was going to be there.

So there are about 120 people sitting in the holding cell potential juror’s room and we watch this video and get lectured a welcome speech from one of the high judges.. all the shit, basically.

It just so happens that on the day I had to go, they were starting to pick the jury for an abnormally high profile murder case. I can’t go into anymore detail then that for ambiguity sake but believe me.. it was an abnormally high profiled murder case. In fact, it was so abnormally high profiled that I would have actually LIKED to be in this jury.

That is.. until I found out that the trial was probably going to be about 3 or 4 weeks long and that because it was so abnormally high profiled, the jury would have to be sequestered.

Hell No.

Not doing that.

A point of the case was that it dealt with homosexuality… and although I am in no way a homo-phobe, I figured that my good Christian values would dictate that I SHOULD be and that would be my out to be dismissed by the defense team.

One day.. One trial and I’m free.

NOTE: Before you start typing hate mail, save the time. I don’t believe that my good Christian values dictate that I should be a homo-phobe. I was just trying to get out of being sequestered into the Thanksgiving holidays!

Because this was a big case :: I promise I will never say “abnormally high profile” again in this post, they brought all 120 potential jurors up into the courtroom. Where we sat.. unable to eat.. or drink.. or talk to the people sitting next to us.. or read or do ANYTHING until we were dismissed.

Wonderful. There goes my handbag full of diversion, huh.

The worse part was.. in an attempt to hinder you further from maybe whispering to the people sitting next to you.. they had white noise playing on the speakers.

You know the “shhhhhshhhhhshhhhhshhhhshhh” noise? The sound that the “snow” channel made on old tv sets?

Talk about cruel and fucking unusual punishment for people that a few hours before you were welcoming with open arms of thanks :: no stale donuts, though ::

Anyway.. they pass out a set of questions that they want you to answer. These will be reviewed by the judge, defense team and prosecution team.

One of the questions was:

WOULD YOU HOLD IT AGAINST A DEFENDANT IF THEY DIDN’T TAKE THE STAND?

Something to that effect.

HELL YEA I wrote.

And I would. Definitely.

So all the papers are collected and then the questions are read aloud for which everyone who answered a certain way has to stand to acknowledge their answer to the question.

Not sure if I’m explaining this right. But like, they would say:

All those who answered YES to Question 5 regarding a friend or family member convicted of a crime please stand up with your juror number displayed.

Personally, I think that sucks but as you will find out I think about this sucked.

Anyway.. so they get to the question about holding it against someone who won’t take the stand in their own defense and I promptly stand up. So did the girl to the left of me.

Remember, we’re not able to talk to one another and there’s enough flying monkey’s from the Wizard of Oz trolling around making sure we don’t.

So after they get done all that.. they start speaking to the potential jurors one by one.. up at the judges side bar.

Remember, there are 120 people in there. They are interviewing people NUMERICALLY. It’s almost 3pm by this time.. I am number 104… they are on number 23 or something and I’m thinking.. Welp.. court ends at 4.. there’s my one day / one trial thing done and over with.

NO.

SUCH.

LUCK.

4:00 rolls around… then 4:15… then 4:30… THEN 4:45.

The judge then tells us that we would ALL have to come back tomorrow.. no IFS.. ANDS.. or BUTS.. because to NOT come back tomorrow would mean serious.. serious consequences.

Here’s were things get dicey. I really should learn to never leave my house without a filter on my mouth or at least learn how to control my impulses because as soon as the Judge said, “… you all have to come back tomorrow” all ANYONE heard coming from me was OH. NO. I’M. NOT!

It was kind of like that old EF Hutton commercial.. the one where EVERYONE stops to listen? Yea.. well.. that’s kind of what happened. And since all eyes were on me I, of course, had to stand up for the rights of citizens everywhere.

Right?

Um.. yea.. they didn’t think so.

Anyway.. so I start ranting about how the jury summons had said ONE DAY or ONE TRIAL. This was our ONE day because we certainly weren’t involved in a trial. You cannot tell me that NO ONE in this court room figured out at .. like.. Oh, I don’t know.. 2pm? 3pm, maybe? that they weren’t going to get through ALL 120 jurors. Could they have NOT let anyone know then so that they could make the appropriate arrangement for say.. oh, I don’t know.. they’re JOB maybe? Because as of NOW.. my office and certainly OTHER people’s offices were closed so how the HELL am I suppose to notify my boss that I have to come back HERE! again?

Every body started fist pumping the air… chanting my name.. comparing me to Norma Rae!

Well.. no .. actually they were just agreeing with me with a head nods and mumblings of “yep, that’s right”. But hey, a girl can have a fantasy right?

All of a sudden, one of the flying monkeys rushes towards me and tell me that I better “knock it off” :: really. He said that :: or he’d give me a fine.

“A fine?, “ I asked making that smirky face I made once in a while. “For WHAT?”

“Disorderly Conduct,” he said.

I think I responded with OH. COME. THE. FUCK. ON! and added something about him being a kindergarten drop out who couldn’t get a real job as a policeman.. and if he DIDN’T know, I was a United States Citizen who had every right to oppose the sanctions placed upon me BY the court when I was here doing my duty TO the court. How fucked up was that??

One thing you need to know about me… in situations like this, I tend to pull out the big 10 cent dictionary words and go into “lawyer”-speak, as my psychotic ex husband used to say.

He had about enough of me, I’ll tell you what!

He whips out his little citation book and tells me that I am definitely getting a fine and incredibly, asks me my name and address.

I tell him in my most billowing Norma Rae voice that:

I AM JUROR NUMBER 104.. LOOK IT UP IN THE GODDAMN PAPER WORK

And then I walked out of the courtroom… down the hall.. down the steps.. across the courtyard.. across the street.. into the parking lot and into my car muttering, “… what the fuck did you JUST do you simple ass mother fucker?” Quickly proceeded by “.. dammit, I need a coffee STAT!

So the next day comes and I head back to the courtroom :: like instructed :: taking the same seat that I had before.

All the flying monkeys were giving me the hairy eyeball and the other potential jurors were sneaking me smiles and nods.

Again they put on the white noise.. and again you have to sit there with no source of entertainment or access to caffeine. This was going to be a LONG day!

There happened to be some kind of issue with Juror 103 :: on my right ::. I’m not sure what it is because you know, we aren’t aloud to inter act, but at some point she grabs hold of one of the flying monkeys and tells him that there is no possible way she can continue to sit in the court room because the defense attorney was the same guy that her old babysitter used when she was on trial for shaking her :: the juror’s :: baby to death. She got off and apparently, this woman held it against the defense attorney.

DAAAAMMMMNNNNN!!! The things you find out when white noise doesn’t work as well as you think it does!!

Anyway, the flying monkey tells the woman that she cannot leave the court room but that he will speak to the judge. She gets all hysterical crying and asks if she could use the ladies room. The flying monkey then gives a not to the crypt keeper and a set of doors rivaling the beginning of Get Smart opens and she leaves.

She eventually comes back and about an hour or so later, when the judge and all were finishing up grilling Juror 87 or 88, the unexpectedly call Juror 105 :: the girl on my left ::.

Immediately there is a buzz in the room. What did this mean? Is everyone else going home? Are they going to keep everyone else? WHY. THE. HELL. WOULD. THEY. SKIP. OVER. ALL. THESE. PEOPLE? What was so special about HER?? Why did SHE get called next? Did she have naked pictures of the JUDGE?

It was craziness. Pandemonium would be a better word. All the official court people start shushing everyone and the judge is banging his gavel and calling order and all this stuff and finally, everyone calms down.

Juror 105 was questioned and then released.

Lucky bitch.

Anyway.. so fast forward to when they finally call my number.

I go up before the judge, the prosecution and defense and the judge asks me about the answers to my questions. But before he could get to any specific one, I tell him that I didn’t answer one question truthfully. I told him that it would be difficult for me to serve on the jury because I morally opposed homosexuality and the reason why I didn’t answer truthfully is because there were obviously people around me who were gay and I didn’t want to either offend anyone or make anyone uncomfortable.

The defense attorney poo-poo’d that sentiment. Which.. okay.. he TECHNICALLY was right about but he really didn’t know that for sure. I mean, I COULD really feel that way.

The judge then asked me about THE question.. the whole defendant taking the stand thing.

I said to him that I understood that it was a defendants constitutional right NOT to take the stand but I firmly believe that an innocent person had nothing to hide and that if I were accused of something I didn’t do then I you wouldn’t be ABLE to keep my mouth shut about it.

The defense attorney huffed at that but instead of cutting my eyes at him I just remained with the persona of a dutiful potential juror.

I thought this was it… given what I said, no one in there RIGHT MIND would want me on a jury and I would be excused. I figured it was early enough in the afternoon that I could get some shopping done.. maybe check out Border’s… go to DSW… I had it all planned out.

But they shot me a curve ball.

They told me to go back to my seat.

WTF???

I gave a grin… and politely made my way back to my seat.. mentally calling them ever curse word in English AND Italian!!

And I sat.

And sat.

And sat until they finally got everybody interviewed.

It was then that the judge called on me to go to his chambers.

All eyeballs on me.

Fuck.

As I made my way back.. escorted by a flying monkey.. I swear I was waiting for the cuffs to be put on and was trying to figure out how the hell I was going to 1) let Chief know that I was probably the only potential juror ever arrested and 2) explain to Chief why I was the only potential juror ever arrested.

I get to the chambers and the judge and both attorneys were there. I sit down and the judge tells me that the reason why I’m being called back there is that the defense attorney feels as though I was not being honest about my answers.

Are you KIDDING me?

This is already 2441 words so I’ll cut to the chase.

Remember that juror that they interviewed out of order? Well apparently, she said the same thing about THE question that I did and he was convinced that we had some conspiracy thing going on between us.

Are you KIDDING me?

I asked him if he was insinuating that the flying monkeys didn’t do their job and keep us from talking.. because there was no way in HELL you could have a conversation .. even with mental telepathy.. with them around.

The defense hack also said that he didn’t believe my rant on homosexuality and suggested to the judge that I be held in contempt of the court.

Are you KIDDING me?

I was getting really REALLY pissed at this point so I turned around and told him why it was so damn important to have me on this jury? Obviously, his client wasn’t going to take the stand because he was guilty as hell :: yes, I did say that :: so he wasn’t going to win me over on that.. and he definitely isn’t going to win me over on the gay thing… so why was he wasting MY time, the JUDGE’S time and the COURTS time by grilling me unless, of course, the reason WHY he wanted me on the jury is so that WHEN his client is found guilty as ALL HELL, he’d have an out to get him another trial.

I have to admit that that came to me at the last minute but I can tell you that it did peak the Judge’s interest.

The defense attorney said that that was ridiculous and told me that I was making a mockery of the law.

That really inflamed me. I told him that on the contrary, HE was the one mocking the law. That even though one may not always agree with the law.. it is the LAW and he was the one trying to dance around it. And as far as the constitution goes, I’m sure he didn’t agree with everything in it.. but even though it preserves certain rights, that doesn’t me that I have to agree with those rights.

The judge asked me again if there was any shadiness with the other potential juror and I told him that he could look up every single juror sheet that I ever filled out in the city and the answer to that question is always the same.

He seemed satisfied… the prosecution was literally getting a kick out of all this and the defense guy was all twisted up in knots.

The judge told me I could leave and as I was walking out, I remembered the fine. I decided to be bold and ask him if I still have to pay it. He seemed a little taken back by my boldness but I told him that considering the defense attorney basically wanted me drawn and quartered, wasn’t that punishment enough?

He told me he would see what he could do and if I got the citation in the mail then to just mail it to his office.

Ordeal over.. I made my way home.

Quickly.. before anyone changed their minds!!

BTW … the guy on trial? Yea.. they found him guilty as all hell!