Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jury Duty - final

My jury duty has come to an end, but not the snow falling in NYC. At a pretty steady clip of 2 storms per week, we are unable to unbury ourselves from snow, slush, and, most of all, dangerously slippery conditions on all roads.

On Monday we experienced the coldest temperature in about six years with 6F, without even counting the wind factor. It snowed yesterday, and again this morning, but the balance of the current storm is expected during this evening and night. Thank goodness I don't have to travel anymore downtown. My refrigerator has been restocked and I can work from home. All other, non urgent appointments will follow when there is a respite from bad weather.

The civil case I was on was relatively uncomplicated, involving an unfortunate accident, but the plaintiff's lawyer, notwithstanding his self assurance, failed to demonstrate the burden of proof on the part of the defense; consequently, according to the law, the financial rewards hoped to be gained from the lawsuit did not materialize.

With this case concluded, the jury was discharged and dismissed from serving again for another six years. To complete my posts about this experience, I like, however, to add a couple of remarks.

While cameras and picture taking were obviously not allowed inside the court building, very few were the prospective jurors that did not have a cell phone in their hands, or a portable computer on their lap. On a pleasant side, it was surprising to receive, once inside a jury room, a continuous supply of a large amount of miscellaneous wrapped candies that a police officer would deliver every day, and to watch how quickly this supply would disappeared. On the last day, when we were expected to start our deliberation, the court also ordered and paid for lunches of our choice from a nearby deli.

It took us only a couple of hours to reach a decision that was acceptable to the court, with 5 out of 6 jurors agreeing. To be fair with the 6th juror that attempted to sway others from their conviction, the rest of the group requested the re-reading of several portions of the testimonies from both sides, at the end of which the discordant juror gave up and remained on record as the only one that did not agree on the outcome.

As it happened in past jury duty experiences of mine, I was hoping to be able to make a couple of comments to the judge at the end of the process, but this time it was not possible. What I wanted to convey was the lack of a microphone in the courtroom, which the judge could have used since she had laryngitis, and it could have helped the recording clerk when she proceeded to re-read the testimonies we ask for. She did this from a laptop, while turning her back to the jury!

Oh, well.....above duty performed, now I can turn my full attention to the rather long list of other outstanding things to do that faces me on my desk!!

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