Friday, March 7, 2014

Jury Duty

A process that started January 6 came to an abrupt end today.  I was selected and juror #6 in a capital murder death penalty trial.  Needless to say I was quite concerned how this would all play out and how I would feel if in fact the defendant was convicted and we had to determine whether he lived or died.  There was no doubt he murdered the prison guard, but the defense contended he was not guilty by reason of insanity.  What little I did her I would have questions the validity of the defense claims.  As it turned out he was offered a plea deal of life without parole which he promptly accepted.  This case had been going on for nearly 12 years and the victim's family in that time decided they did not want him put to death.  They wanted an end to it.   I respect and completely understand their feelings.  To say that it was an interesting experience is quite an understatement!  After it was over we were able to speak with attorneys on both sides and I really felt for the ADA who had been involved from the very beginning on this case.  He clearly was not satisfied with the outcome and truly felt the defendant deserved the ultimate penalty.  The defendant murdered a prison guard when his back was turned with an industrial sized ladle in the kitchen.  He told those who spoke to him that there was enormous amounts of evidence disproving the insanity allegation.  The DA's concern was that it only took one dissenting voice in the jury for a lesser charge would in turn could perhaps allow this man to walk free someday.  I did ask one of the defense attorneys why to took this case and her simple answer was "I don't believe in the death penalty".  I would have liked to have been able to see this through, but frankly I am just as glad it ended the way it did.  It would have been really challenging and very emotional.  I am comforted by the fact that this person will never see the light of a free day!
Now back to the world that makes me happy.......