Trial by Jury: Omnibus

Here is a collection of short thoughts from my time as a juror.

  • I have never spent that much time with that many native New Englanders. Apparently, "the pike was pahking lot this munning".
  • There is a video that the court shows all the prospective jurors. It is actually pretty good. The officer hinted that this was recently introduced to replace a several-decade-old video.
  • The courtroom was very modern. It looked like an office with some special furniture. It did not have the oak paneling and carved symbols.
  • There was a bookcase behind the judge, which we thought was for decoration, until she onetime turned around, pulled a book out, and looked up something while in a sidebar.
  • The judge had some great facial expressions. When witnesses started to pontificate, she gave this look out of the corner of her eye that is exactly the same as the one a mother gives when she is watching a child who looks like he is about to do something he shouldn't do. She is awaiting and expecting a moment that she will have to intervene.
  • They did not buy us lunch except on deliberation day. Even during full trial days we had to find our own lunch.
  • I loved it when the judge told us to disregard a particular statement and I had already disregarded it because it was stupid question anyway.
  • Could both sides not share a projector and screen?
  • When you show a witness a picture, please show it to the jury; otherwise, you two are having a private conversation up there.
  • Hearsay rules need to be loosened. Most of the time it just results in really awkwardly stories. This usually has to do with someone explaining why he did something, and it is because someone told him to do it. When a judge says, "Can you get this out of him without hearsay?", she is asking that the exact same information be given, just in a legalese phrasing. Juries should be allowed to judge hearsay as it is.
  • There is this white noise that the clerk plays over the jury box whenever the lawyers go to a sidebar.
  • Judge: [After a question was asked, objected to, the objection sustained, and then the question was reworded and reasked by the lawyer.]  "Oh, come on!"
  • Judge: [When a question is being asked, the other lawyer stands up to object. To the talking lawyer.] "Stop! We are not going there." Talking lawyer: "May we have a sidebar." [Upon return, we went there.]
  • Based on the stories I have heard about juries and my experience with people, I expected emotions to play a central role in the deliberations. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. No one held a lawyer's behavior against his client or referred to evidence that had been thrown out.