I spent the day at the Crowley Building being eliminated as a juror in a criminal case. I found it incredibly frustrating. Voir dire went on all afternoon. The purpose of voir dire is to enable the parties to select an impartial panel, but of the final 12 people who were chosen from our panel of 76 potential jurors, not one had uttered a single word during voir dire. One of them, a guy in his 50’s, did speak to me in the hall outside the courtroom while we we were waiting to hear who was picked. And what did this man who made the final cut he have to say? “Well, if this “victim” is a 13 year old girl, all I’ve got to say is, 13 year old girls LIE…” He was picked over the SMU professor who had asked for clarification between individual and corporate deterrents when sentencing was being discussed, and over the business man who said, in response to a question from the prosecutor, that yes, there is a difference between innocence and being found not guilty. During voir dire, the lawyers succeeded in eliminating many people who clearly could not participate fairly in this case; however, they also appeared to eliminate anyone who appeared to be a thinking, intelligent person. The experience did not leave me feeling confident about the state of the jury system.
cross posted at Talking to Myself