Friday, March 20, 2009

Jury Duty - Deliberations and Beyond

The deliberation room.

All I can think of is "12 Angry Men." That room was hot, stuffy and full of, well, twelve angry men. This room is light, airy, not very large, but it is full of laughter? These twelve people were vibrant, colorful, and unique. They came from all backgrounds, all walks of life, but they all had opinions.

First vote: 6 to 6.

We have serious work to do.

The first day of deliberations we discuss for 2 hours and make no progress.

The next day, 6 more hours and we reach consensus. We yell and clap. It is odd and it is bonding. We are confident that we have it right.

The emotions in the courtroom are high as the verdict is read, but the jurors are calm. We are done.

Ten of the 12 jurors went to grab a drink - at a seedy bar on a Thursday afternoon. It is fitting in a odd way. We shared something that no one could understand. It is personal, it is ours, only ours. As we part we say we'll keep in touch, but we all know this isn't true. It was all just a moment in time.

It was four days of our lives that we shared together, and it will just be a memory.

But somehow we impacted justice and we impacted two people's lives.

I can't say that I believe in our law system. The experience highlighted all of the complicated and disgusting parts of the system: poor lawyering, lying witness, antiquated technology and resources available, aging judge, and a litigious society. It was ugly.

I can't say that I believe in our law system. But I do believe in people.