January 18th, 2008


Jury Duty

So, most of this week (all but today, Friday), I was on a jury for a criminal trial.

It wasn't exactly what I'd call fun. Unfun, really. Stressful, even. Draining. Haven't really slept very well since it began (there were some disturbing elements to it, and after the fact, you kind of second-guess yourself. Even if intellectually you're certain -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- you made the right decision, there's always that niggling not-actually-reasonable doubt that's left. But the more I've thought about it, the more I'm satisfied that we made the right determination, and that's... Somewhat comforting).

I have no desire to ever sit on a jury again, but if called up again, I would of course willingly do my duty. Of course, it was a bit inconvenient, too, but it could have been worse, since classes start next week.

It was certainly an interesting experience. I learned things, some of which I didn't really want to know, like how much damage a single bullet can really do (answer: an astounding amount of damage). And apparently there were some unusual things about this particular trial (the defendant taking the stand, the prosecutor waiting until the last moment to really drop the hammer with the evidence -- almost like an actual TV trial in that -- and pretty much only that -- respect. Also, the judge had the court stand for the jury instead of himself, which I was surprised by. I don't know if that's common elsewhere, but it was the first I'd ever heard of it).

I'm fairly impressed with the Colorado justice system overall. Well, impressed isn't really the right word -- satisfied is better. It seems efficient and fair from what I've seen of it, and that's what I want it to be and what I think I should be able to reasonably expect it to be. Not perfect, of course, but as close as can be reasonably expected -- perfection is an impossible standard for any human institution.

[As an almost complete aside, and IMNSHO, Colorado is a much better run state than the others I've lived in. Part of that is because probably because Colorado has the money, and also doesn't have all of the problems that the other states have had to deal with, but, well, the fact remains I'd take it over the others.]
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