So today was the beginning of my jury duty experience.
It took some juggling to get the childcare all put together but thanks to some really good friends, my children had their daycare assignments and I was off to begin my civic duty. I was to be there at 8:45am with the clear understanding that I might indeed be there all day…and the worst case scenario was being there 3 days…all day. Although, I was excited about this experience and so once the kids were set up, I was in it for the long haul.
I was picked as one of the first 12 jurors. We were given basic information about the process of the trial as well as some definitions of terms, and expectations of the jurors. We were sworn in, or sworn to something…something about being honest and doing our duty well…blah freaking blah!
Bring in the legal eagles and let the fun begin already!
So in walks the attorneys, both prosecuting and defending. AND the defendant. No shit. The defendant comes in too. I seriously had no idea that the defendant would be in there too. I felt my heart rate increase. I suddenly had a sinking feeling. We were there to judge this man, or at least his actions. I wondered for a moment what it must be like to witness the execution of another human being. What a burden.
And this next part, I hate to say it, but as soon as I saw the defendant, I had this feeling that I already knew what he was there for despite not having been told yet. nfortunately my suspicions were right. He was there because there had been 5 counts of child molestation brought against him. I felt nervous and scared. Worried that I would not be able to do what was being asked of me.
So the questions began. Basically the 12 of us sitting in the jury box were being interviewed to determine if we were the right people to assist either the prosecution or the defense. Several questions later, my past professional experience came into play. I suspect that, coupled with my own molestation experience, brought up by me in response to a specific question, was what led to my subsequent dismissal.
I’m totally OK with all of this. It was a great first experience. I hope there will be another opportunity in the future to serve again. However, following today, I am exempt now for 2 years.
It’s odd, I felt strong during the short time I was there. And I know I would have pulled on my resilience and my desire to do the right and just thing during the course of the trial. But after coming home, I felt spent. And looking at my boys made my heart ache. Knowing that there are people in the world who hurt young innocents breaks my heart.
I feel fragile. And humble. And scared. And angry. And protective. And don’t fuck with my boys, because I will not hesitate to judge you with as many sharp objects as I can find.