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June 2009
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frank [userpic]
civically dutiful

yesterday i had my first experience with jury duty. apparently a good way to get selected is to say nothing during the selection process. it was only a 1 day trial and was over by 5. the case was a public intoxication charge against a 40ish british man. the defense attorney said (not sure if it's true) that texas is the only state left where you can request a jury trial for a class c misdemeanor.

the arrest took place in february so the prosecution's only witness, a police officer, couldn't remember most of the details. the man claimed to have 4 bottles of beer over about 4 hours at a restaurant and his wife drove them home. they got pulled over 2 blocks from their house. the wife got arrested for DWI. the man was arrested for PI and the car was impounded.

the officer said the man had bloodshot eyes, was slurring, had alcohol on his breath, and didn't have normal balance. the defendant said that the officer asked the man if he had been drinking and then arrested him. the man was not offered the chance to call someone to take him home (or to walk home). my impression was that the man didn't let the officer know that he only lived 2 blocks away.

we had to decide if the man was intoxicated to a point of being a danger to himself or others. the prosecutor seemed a bit outmatched and was at a disadvantage mainly because the event happened so long ago. he was mainly trying to show that the guy was a danger to himself because he let his wife drive and drank too much. he had a good closing statement.

the defense attorney was basically trying to prove that the man was not intoxicated. to open his case, he showed a video of the officer who arrested the wife talking to the officer who arrested the defendant. he was basically saying that he didn't care what the officer did with the husband. i'm not sure why he showed the video. we were all expecting to see the officer talking to the defendant. he also made a big point about the officer not performing sobriety tests on the defendant. according to the officer, they never perform them for a PI charge.

one other point brought up was that the man didn't have his green card yet. this was his reason for why the wife was driving. he didn't want to get into any trouble that would affect his green card status.

in the end, i could understand why the officer arrested the guy. i think there would be a liability issue if he let him go or drove him home. ultimately, however, i wasn't convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a danger to himself or others. we decided to vote not guilty in about 10 minutes


my only time at the courthouse was also on a PI. But I didn't get to serve.

this is not a CD

sounds hilarious!

was there a knitter on the jury? in tv shows there is always a knitter on the jury. she tends to look over the tops of her eyeglasses when she finally surprises everyone by saying something sassy.