What started at noon yesterday ended at about 3pm today when a jury was finally put in place… leaving 18 of us, out of the initial 70, quite literally sitting on the bench.
It was quite a process, with the defense getting a head start making their case by using perspective juror questioning as an illustrative tool to show what the defendant may have been going through when arrested by the CHP for a combination of things (including driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license and a confession for doing so). And yet here he was, now claiming not guilty. The defense attorney wanted to make it clear that the defendant was confused and intimidated, like several other perspective jurors when interviewed about their past encounters with the law.
Privacy goes out the window in this setting; the judge has a list of 6 basic questions, including whether you’ve been arrested, whether people close to you have been, whether you’ve been a victim, and then follow-up questions to ferret out the details. Details which people would normally not feel comfortable talking about in front of strangers, but in this setting, it seems OK. Given that drugs and/or alcohol were involved in the trial, that was an obvious targeted area, and it’s sad to see just how many people have been closely touched, in a costly manner, by it. Continue reading