I am always so fascinated when people blog their jury duty experience. I like to hear how they come to their decisions, what they view as important in the jury room, and how they view the attorneys.
I found Happy Scapula's jury duty review via Arbitrary & Capricious, and I actually was the first to comment on his blog!
So, first, read it (if you like) and then I'll give you my comments:
Of course, I read this from a defense point of view. But, here of a few of my general thoughts.
I haven't yet had a juror stick around to talk to me - whether they convicted or acquitted. I'd like to hear what they'd have to say. Although, I did have one trial where we dismissed the alternates before jury deliberations, and they stuck around because they wanted to know what the verdict would be. I guess that means I kept it interesting.
This write-up makes me wonder (again) how my would jurors describe me? Hopefully not something like "too big lips."
Now onto this case specifically... For example... "Happy" wonders why the prosecutor didn't present more evidence about when the defendant was moved from one police car to another. For example, he didn't mention how far the distance was, whether she was assisted, etc. But, I would wonder if he didn't bring it up because it was a bad fact for him. Maybe she walked a few hundred feet gracefully and without assistance, so it wouldn't be something the prosecutor would mention. I'm not saying that would have made a difference in the verdict, but I guess that's how I would analyze the evidence that is presented (or isn't).
"Happy" also wonders whether the defendant was represented by a public defender, based on the fact that there was a law student second seating the trial. I'd say that that's probably true. (Unless it was summer, which makes it slightly more likely that the law student was a summer associate at a law firm.) But what I really want to know is, would it have made a difference if you knew that?
I would think that in a drunk driving case, it wouldn't really matter whether the client is rich or poor. Rich people are just as capable of committing this crime as poor people (and celebrities get arrested for it all the time).
On the other hand, I do worry about jurors knowing that my client is represented by a public defender in a case like crack possession or shoplifting (although, who can forget Winona Ryder?)
Here's what I think is more interesting... do you think the defendant was in jail while the case was pending? Probably not, on a drunk driving, but it might give you a clue as to what her warrant was for (presumably something more serious if she was in jail). Generally, courts try to hide this information, but sometimes it's unavoidable that a juror sees the defendant entering the courthouse, either in handcuffs or not. And, of course, is it a good factor or a bad factor?
Perhaps a juror, learning that a client was in jail, would think, "She may be guilty of something, but not something that serious, she shouldn't be in jail, I'll lean toward acquittal." On the other hand, I think a juror might just as easily say, "If they put her in jail during this case, she must have some really bad criminal record or done something more serious that they didn't tell us about... and therefore she's more likely to be guilty of whatever she's accused of now."
So, I guess that's all my thoughts on that. Except...
Next time, ACQUIT!
Just kidding. =)
At least partially.