Zowie. The last month has been insane. First there was the problem at work and the 12 hour days that followed, then faux heart attack scare and subsequent vicodin bender, then jury duty.
Let me tell you about jury duty.
We had jury selection on Monday, listened to testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, heard closing arguments then we deliberated for 11 hours on Thursday (we left the courthouse at 11pm) and we deliberated for nine more hours on Friday.
The case was an accusation of rape against a not very savory man. The accuser was his daughter. She was a teen at the time of the allegations; prosecution said that he took her virginity. He was also accused of raping her on a weekly basis for over a year.
The problem with the case was that I didn't believe the young woman's story. She reported it ten years after the fact, yet there was no claim of repressed memory. She says she didn't report because she was afraid of the man, yet when her baby daughter (worse than if it were a son, imo) was born she took her to meet him. Defense claimed that she often asked for rent money. After the money stopped he was accused. We learned through a defense witness that she threatened that she said "I'm going to make you pay, you son of a bitch".
I'm trying to give you the largest swaths of the case. We listened to testimony for two days. We deliberated for 20 hours.
Though there were four counts in the case and the vote was different for each, essentially nine people thought that we should convict and three people felt the verdict should be not guilty. I was in the minority. The major difference was that 11 of 12 people felt that the state did not make its case against the man, but that 8 of those people felt the reasonable doubt threshold had been reached. The twelth juror was a nutcase who said straight out that rape stories are NEVER fabricated. (She also said that she could not vote for innocence in a case where the defendant didn't testify on his own behalf. Screw you, fifth amendment!)
When this lovely young woman took the stand, she had my faith and my belief in her. I wanted to do right by her. But as she spoke, she struck me as a bullshit artist. In my scribbled notes there were circles and arrows and question marks and the word "Contradicts". I would go into detail for you here but that would make a lengthy post that I don't have much of a stomach for. I've been living with this story in my head for over a week. It's there when I wake up and when I go to sleep. I truly truly wish that I could have believed her. The easiest thing to have done would have been to say 'guilty'. But I believe that it is worse to put an innocent man in jail than to let a guilty man go free. The state did not make the case against the man. One woman on the jury said the polar opposite: "I can't stand the thought that there's a possibility I'd let a rapist walk around on the streets". Screw you, reasonable doubt!
Though deliberations lasted for over 20 hours for the most part they were respectful, thoughtful deliberations. There were some heated exchanges but very little animosity. In the end, we were a hung jury and a mistrial was declared.
Ask me questions in comments about the case, if you like. I'll answer and/or give greater detail as to why, as much as it pained me to say so, I thought the accuser was lying.