“So, what kind of trial are you on?” the perky young blond attorney asked as the elevator began to descend to the first floor of the Orange County Courthouse.
“Uh, I dunno,” I evaded, “We just got done with Voir Dire.” We, the twenty perspective members of the jury had been counseled by the judge not to discuss the trial, and specifically not with the attorneys and defendant, so though I had an inkling of the case at hand, I kept it to myself.
“I wish I knew what its like for the Jury!” the lawyer gushed, “I’ve been in the courtroom a lot, but I don’t know what happens in the Jury Room!” There was a palpable intensity to her desire.
The lawyers play their part, center stage of an arena theater, playing to a mute audience who will pass judgment on their performance and at the end of the day, utter one of two words. Guilty or Not Guilty.
But why? What motivates the jury to come to their decision? “What’s important to them? I wish I could see!” she lamented.
Indeed one of my fellow members of my particular jury was an attorney himself, and he too expressed an eagerness to see what transpired in the secluded Jury Room.
I’ve served on one jury as of this writing, and that doesn’t by any means make me an expert. But I know a tad bit more about this process than the Lawyers I rubbed shoulders with, and to that end, I make this writing, to unmask a tiny glimpse into the minds of a single panel of jurors for a single trial.
My insights are indeed limited, but to the best of my capacity, I will divulge my thoughts, emotions, and reasons, and most importantly, my observations.
I will be changing the names of all parties, partly to protect the guilty (oh yes, you read that correctly), and mostly because we of the jury were not permitted to keep our notes. I could have drafted the details down, with full clarity, but in the spirit of the law as intended, I have purposefully obscured the names of all participants.