we're awaiting access to our jury room so we can continue deliberation. they don't joke around when a jury is in deliberation. there is a boot on the doorknob.
it should be noted, for sake of accuracy, that this is technically day 10. the first day was the day i was selected. work paid me for that day. the court did not.
(10:47) we the jury have reached a verdict. several strong personalities in a small room make for bruised egos, aching heads, and frazzled nerves. with a decision reached, the mood of the room has returned to easy & social conversation. never has it been less expensive to observe a social experiment in action.
(12:15) first, since we're released from duty and it is a matter of civil record, here it is ...
in the case of the people vs. salvador irazarri, on the charge of sexual assault with a minor (with a special enhancement of substantial lewd and lascivious acts with a child age of 13, or younger), we as a jury found the defendant not guilty.
the saying "justice is blind" definitely has a lot of truth behind it. we were given specific instructions to be followed collectively as a jury, the lynch pin of which goes roughly as follows:
"you are to determine verdict based on the case being proved, or disproved, beyond a reasonable doubt. IF you can see reasonable cause for guilt AND for innocence, then you MUST find in favor of innocence."
there were a handful of us that are still reasonably certain that these crimes were committed, and 2 of us wrestled with deciding this verdict for most of this last weekend. ultimately, the only thing that prevented this trial from ending in a hung jury was that jury instruction. we may still wrestle with that decision for a few days longer, but in the eyes of the law, and through the blindfold of Lady Justice, we did what is "right".
finally, what did allow some measure of closure for those of us that struggled with this decision came in the form of a very open and honest prosecutor that not only welcomed, but encouraged, questions and comments from the jury after the fact. the most cathartic comment made was that, should we have been a hung jury, unable to unanimously reach a verdict, that the DA's office would not have re-tried the case. they expected this verdict, to some degree.
(7:35) i doubt it will be awhile before i witness again the camaraderie that i have seen both during and after this trial. i did need some time afterward to sort my thoughts. i'm still unsettled with the case. having said that, i would still serve again, without hesitation. feeling as strongly as i did in this case has given me some sense of duty, similar to that of working the elections and voting. it is important to the process that a diverse cross section of society is assembled to hear the evidence, share their points of view, and collectively weigh the matter carefully.
the defense attorney, though i'm not fond of the man's courtroom demeanor, hit the nail on the head during his closing arguments, albeit more of a history lesson in places. he told us of a quote by Lord William Blackstone: "It is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted."