(Based on a real incident)
I was sitting outside the Department 5 courtroom, having been called for jury duty.
Previous times, I had always found a way to get out of it, but now that I’m a little older I feel like it is my civic duty.
They called four blocks of twenty potential jurors and we all sitting and milling around until we were told to come inside.
The Bailiff came out and ushered us inside. The gallery was full along with the 18 chairs of the jury.
The judge gave his instructions to us all, then it all began, and they asked questions to trim our 80 down to 15.
I sat in the back of the gallery, listening to the questions being asked and the different ways the potential jurors were answering them.
The first day was over, and we were called back at nine am the following day. Our 80 had become 70, as potential jurors were peremptorily asked to step down, and the judge released them to their regular lives.
After enough of this, my name was called ‘Joseph Madsen’. I got up from my rather uncomfortable seat and sat in the much more comfortable chair for Juror number 7.
After catching me up with the questions asked so far, I stayed were I was as others were released.
The third day of this began. And our 80 were now down to our 18 plus about 10 were left in the gallery. Things moved very slow, with questions asked and re-asked by both defense lawyers and the DA.
By two pm, we had a jury of 15. The rest were released.
The next morning, I was the first one there. I brought my phone in with me, but the signal was weak, and I closed my eyes for a while.
I heard the squeak of tennis shoes, the clip of women’s shoes, the distinct but quieter sounds of flip-flops on the tile floor. Men’s shoes as a rule don’t make much noise but the clippity clop of nice high heels was quite distinct.
I opened my eyes to see half of the jury there as I took a deep breath and smelled the fragrances of women’s perfumes.
The men lawyers walking by all had nice gray or black suits on. The female lawyers were very nicely dressed as well, with skirts on, but they were well over the knee.
The bailiff came out and took roll, then opened the double doors to allow us all back into the Department 5 courtroom.
The two men on trial each had their own defense lawyer. They were both black and nicely dressed.
The trial moved slowly, with the first few witnesses taking all day as the DA, and then each of the defense attorneys took their turn. With every point, the DA made in his questioning, the defense lawyers took it as their duty to attempt to undermine everything he had asked.
Although I promised not to form an opinion right away—it was difficult not to. Everything I had heard so far made it clear to me that they were guilty,
The trial was about these two men raping two women. My older sister Mary had been raped about four years earlier.
She’d come home from college and was assaulted on the street where we live. She’s now 26, while I’m 22!
She had taken it to trial, and the jerk only got two-year’s probation. Coincidentally, the same guy was one of the two defendants in the case before me.
Back when I was asked if I knew anyone in the courtroom, I lied and said no. I was too young for him to remember!
I was really happy that I made it to the jury.
We were released for the day, and I went by my sister’s place to see her. It had been a while,
I knocked on her door. I heard her ask, “Who is it?”
“It’s your little brother!”
After what sounded like five separate locks being unlocked, the door opened, and Mary made a feeble excuse of a smile, “Come on in, Joseph!”
After I walked through the door, she closed the door and made a point of locking all five bolts back up.
“Would you like something to drink, Joe?” she asked.
“Sure,” I answered.
Getting one for herself, she threw me a bottle and sat down.