I suppose we didn’t pray quite hard enough, because I did end up having to go into Philadelphia for Jury Duty. I really thought I would only have to be there for the day. I certainly never expected to be chosen to actually serve on a jury! Well, surprise, surprise, I ended up serving as Juror Number Three (and I was picked to be the Foreperson) for a case involving drug trafficking and gun possession. Whoo-hoo! I was so excited…not!
Before I continue my Jury Duty Saga/Drama, please allow me to rant about the process for a moment. There are very few things in this world that irritate me as much as when an adult human being is unwilling to READ and FOLLOW directions (please note- this is very different from someone who is UNABLE to read and follow directions). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an official “hand-holder” for potential jurors. It is this person’s JOB to read every line (at an excruciatingly slow pace – so “everyone can keep up!”) of the information and paperwork that had been sent to us weeks earlier! I am sorry, but if you can’t fill out a form with your OWN name, address and social security number, then you really should not be expected (or permitted) to serve on a jury. You are obviously too incompetent for the job! And, while I am at it, if you cannot pronounce the word LIBRARY, then you, too, should be cut from the pool of potential jurors. You are just too DUMB to be allowed to judge anyone! I apologize if this rant seems harsh, or even rude to anyone. It isn’t my intention to offend, this is simply me venting about some things that drive me nutty.
I believe that many of my fellow jurors had a difficult time accepting that the defendant does not actually have to PROVE that he is innocent, but that the prosecutor does have to PROVE his guilt. I think they forgot that the accused is supposed to be considered INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. It felt, to me, like the majority of the jury wanted the defendant to explain why he was not guilty, which is not how the game is played! Forgive me for calling this situation a game, we did, in fact, hold the fate of another human being in our hands, and that is serious stuff.
I must admit that my jury duty experience was interesting and I now understand a little more about how the American Justice System works (or how it is supposed to!) I discovered that the decision of the jury is really quite subjective (in a criminal case). What is a reasonable doubt? It was explained to us (the jury), at least in part, as any doubt that would cause a reasonable person to hesitate before making a decision of importance. Arrrrgh! Of course, we couldn’t get an answer to the question “what is REASONABLE?”!
In case you haven’t guessed, yet, I was the odd-man-out. I was the only one of the 12 of us to vote him NOT guilty. I cannot honestly say that I think he was innocent. In fact, I would have to say that in my heart I am fairly certain that he was/ is guilty, BUT there were several holes in the prosecutor’s case that were not sufficiently filled in, and in my opinion, they left enough room for reasonable doubt. After the case was declared a mistrial, I had a discussion with the Assistant District Attorney (the prosecutor), about how/why we couldn’t reach a verdict. Can you imagine how surprised I was when he admitted that my argument was convincing, and that I had some very strong points. Finally, some validation!
Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to try to explain your doubt to 11 people who appear to be bent on conviction? I seriously considered switching my vote, just to end it, although I am glad that I didn’t. I was in tears several times – In fact, I had to lock myself in the bathroom at one point in order to compose myself. The entire experience was quite awful, and it drained me both emotionally and physically.
By the end of the trial, I had no voice, and my head was throbbing like never before. It even hurt when I tried to sleep! I have been fighting this awful illness for over a week now, and while it is a LOT better, I am still not right. I have got to make a doctor’s appointment, because I am guessing there is an infection somewhere in my body, and I am going to need medication to beat it.
Don’t you just love all of the fun sewing notions I have recently acquired? I am setting up a shelf of fun vintage sewing things, and these items are all destined to find places of honor upon it. I figured you might enjoy some prettiness while reading my Blah post about jury duty. I feel much better now that I have gotten most of the experience out of my system – we will now return to our regularly scheduled program…
So, I did have some fun while doing the jury duty thing….Do you remember that alpaca yarn I spun up awhile ago? Well, I had dyed it, and started knitting my FIRST project ever (they are hand-warmers!) when I had to go to court. So, I took it with me. I got most of it done during the jury selection process, and then whenever there would be a recess during the trial. I actually had them all knitted up within 2 days! They were super-easy – I am making another pair now! I don’t know if I am ready for anything too much more challenging, yet. But perhaps actual mittens are in the foreseeable future. I would really like to make a hat, but I don’t know where to find a pattern….Does anyone know of an easy (and FREE) hat pattern? And, is there a place online that explains what the knitting abbreviations are, and how to do them? For instance, I get K2T (knit 2 together), but how do you KO (knit over)? And, I was told that I cast (bound?) off incorrectly…which is probably true, I had NO IDEA how to do it, so I did what I thought might work. My project didn’t, and won’t, fall apart, but I did it so that it isn’t “stretchy” like the rest of the piece. Does anyone “get” what I am saying? Thanks for any insight you can give to this new knitter!