Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Jury duty is a very interesting experience. I was chosen for a criminal trial and it lasted five days. They never even asked me a single question. It was just a luck thing that I got picked. The defendant was charged with twenty counts of organized crime, conspiracy, theft, fraud, forgery, possession of a forged instrument, criminal impersonation, and computer crime. He chose to defend himself. Big mistake. He seemed a little arrogant. After the trial, we discovered that he had fired his attorney because his attorney wanted him to take a plea bargain because:

a) he had prior felonies
b) the evidence was overwhelming
c) his wife was testifying against him

He wouldn't settle for anything less than dismissal of all charges. So, he fired his attorney saying he could defend himself better. He certainly changed his mind later on.

The defendant was the ringleader in an organized fraudulant check-writing ring. He and his wife "recruited" a few people from shelters who were poor and drug addicts and had them do the check-writing. They created check and false IDs on their computers using Versicheck and Adobe Photoshop. I'm sure it just started out as a way for them to buy groceries and things for their family. But in the end, they bought computers, large screen televisions and were driving a Lexus.

It was really odd to be sitting in judgment of someone else. I mean, I'm not perfect. Who am I to decide someone else's fate? But even though I felt some sympathy for the guy, he was guilty. That's all there is to it. There are lots of people out there struggling and they don't turn to crime. I'm just lucky I'm so blessed in my life.

"Oh, my life is good. I've got more than anyone should."

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

I'm confused... who never asked you any questions? The judge, during the pre-trial screening? The lawyers, during voir dire? Either way, it's bad, bad, bad. What if you had had a conflict? Like, you knew the defendant or had been arrested for check writing fraud yourself? Oy, that is bad.

I had jury duty about 3 months ago, but I was not impaneled. The judge dismissed me during pre-trial questioning. I think being on a jury would be interesting, though.