I had jury duty today, and like a good citizen, I arose this morning to go to the courthouse and (crossfingers) hopefully not get picked, while still maintaining my status of good citizen. After all, what’s a little family law or civil court? Even if I got picked, what? It was a day or two.
I ended up in the pool for a capital murder case, you heard me, death penalty. I swallowed hard and took a deep breath…forms to fill out, oaths to take….maybe I would just end up sitting all day and be dismissed….HA! right. I went to lunch …”be back here at 1:00….we’ll go from there.” I got back early to await the next steps….out of a pool of 100 people, I was called first, FIRST! and then four other women…everyone else was dismissed for the day, with 5 others to appear tomorrow.
Let’s just say….I don’t do well with public speaking or high stress public situations and yet there I sat in the witness chair, being questioned by the prosecuting attorney. I was asked repeatedly and in many different ways if I could bring myself to condemn someone to the death penalty. Death. That’s pretty permanent. I struggled internally, wanting to be the obedient citizen and perform my duty but also, not truly believing that I could not bring myself, no matter how heinous the crime, to sentence a man to death. I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. It was like a nightmare.
How do lawyers, bailifs and judges do this every day?
My reprieve came in the form of a very kind speech given to me by the prosecuting attorney (after a brief whispering session prompted by the defense attorney). He explained that he thought it was very commendable that I was willng to serve my civic requirement of jury duty but he felt that given the seriousness and severity of the case, and my inability to not become visibly emotional (crying uncontrollably) that perhaps I would be better suited for another type of trial.
I wholeheartedly agreed and was dimissed. I cried all the way home so relieved not to have to be a part of that process…
ug. I am emotionally drained and exhausted….I am going to bed….thank you attorneys for dismissing me.