UNITED STATES—So we’ve talked about all the various procedures or elements as you may call it when it comes to jury duty. We have now reached the last stage, which is the reading of the verdict in the courtroom people. We are sitting in the jury room waiting to be called back to the courtroom. While we wait, we got to know each other better. We talked about our jobs, our experiences as previous jurors, parking fees, racism, prejudice, the legal process and so much more. These 11 people I just met America; they were complete strangers to me, but I felt like I knew these people for years after the week we just spent performing our civic duty.
You bond with a complete stranger when you have jury duty because what else are you going to do: just sit there and be quiet? Um, no! We laughed, we joked and it was just exciting to hear small slices of life stories from these people that came from all facets of life. Race, religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, none of it matter, we just served on a jury and we bonded as a result. However, we were not finished, as we are finally summoned back to the courtroom. What happens?
As I stated, more people are in the courtroom, a few of us were nervous because we’re about to announce a verdict that is going to impact the plaintiff and the defendant in this case. Lives are going to be changed, all eyes are on us and that is the unsettling part of being a jury. People can place a face on a juror. They may not know our names, but our faces were not anonymous. I cannot recall the exact title of the woman who handles all the administrative stuff in the courtroom, but she was given that piece of paper we gave to the bailiff. We were asked if a verdict had been reached and we announced that it was.
The Foreman stood up and acknowledged the verdict being reached, before the court administrator read the verdict in the courtroom. Guilty on count one, which got groans and upset faces in the courtroom. The other verdicts of not guilty were announced. Then each juror was answered if this was the decision that we came up with, which we all agreed. The judge thanked us for our time and we were sent back to the jury room.
We discussed what just happened and how we were a bit nervous that people were staring at us and grunting and making faces. That is always uncomfortable when it comes to jury duty. You have people staring at you which can make you uncomfortable. Rather that is the defendant, the plaintiff, witnesses or family members of the plaintiff or defendant. After waiting for a few moments, the judge enters the room to discuss the case a bit and answer a few questions.
We did ask if we were making sure the people in the courtroom were gone and exited the facility before we were released to go home. You might ask why this matters, but truth be told it does people; it really does. I have heard cases where a verdict has been reached, then the jurors leave and I have heard of a juror being threatened and actually harmed after making a ruling that the plaintiff or the defendant was not in agreement of in a particular case. Once the verdict is announced, you’re no longer protected by the courts people.
The judge assured us he would make sure of that to make us feel at ease. Then comes the exciting part, we get to ask questions to the judge. The big question we all had was rather this case was tied to another case. The judge couldn’t answer that question specifically, but all I can say he hinted that there was more taking place that we couldn’t know about. So all those questions we were deliberating about the plaintiff, her brother, the weapon all made sense. We weren’t crazy thinking more was taking place than what we were given.
A few more inquisitive questions were posed about the case in particular if we came up with the right decision because some of us had doubts. The judge assured us the decision that we came to was the right decision. He never tells a jury if they are right or wrong and stated the decision that we came to was the decision that was to unfold in the courtroom. Interesting information and I was glad to hear that. After the judge leaves, the prosecutor enters and opens up the floor for questions. Similar questions about the police report and more to the case than what was presented in court were asked and we received the same answer we got from the judge. He also explained that it was his second jury trail.
So we learned that both the judge and the prosecutor were notable newbies in the courtroom, however, they didn’t present themselves in that manner while in the court. They seemed like seasoned individuals so that was fun information to learn. Confidence is everything when it comes to the courtroom people and that was shown in the courtroom. So after about 20 minutes after discussions we are dismissed. We had to go back to the jury wait room to receive our letters noting our jury service. Why was this important? You might need it for work, but it is also a sign that you have served jury duty and you do not have to serve for at least a year (that is a major plus people).
I couldn’t believe they already had these letters preplanned and ready to hand out based on your first or last name people. Ok, my civic duty is over, but there is one more step: the pay.