Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Real Deal

Wow.  Had you guys been on this jury for real, there would be a different outcome.   

We found 'G-man'.... Not Guilty on all counts!  

Of all the evidence, the only person who could place him in the kitchen at the time of the shooting was Mrs. Smith.  And she was high on the stand, so much so that she almost fell asleep in mid sentence, twice.  She also was the only person to say that 'Tiny' went through her husbands pockets.  'Tiny', not 'G-man'....  

Mrs. Smith changed her story on the stand, little details... but that is enough for doubt of character... combined with the drug habit~she was not a credible witness.  She was also arrested on another warrant as soon as she left the witness stand....  

'Tiny' said 'G-man' was there, but said he only saw Mrs. Smith struggling with the shooter.  He conflicted his story and said 'G-man' did shoot Mr. Smith and he saw him,  but could not say what 'G-man' was wearing the second time we asked.  That made us all doubt him.  

And we figured he would say anything to get the plea bargain.  They were both involved.  That is not in question or what the trial was about.  That was fact.  We needed proof beyond a reasonable doubt the 'G-man' committed the acts he was being prosecuted for.  

Mr. Johnson never made it into the kitchen to see anything, he just verified 'G-man' was in the house, and in the kitchen.  

Tammy was covering her own butt.  She was the girlfriend of thelocal dealer 'Tommy'.  We believe 'Tommy' to be higher up the drug selling chain as it seemed that everyone was covering for him.  Stating quickly and matter-of-factly he had no involvement whenever his name was mentioned.  We thought they were scared of him.  That is how they acted.  Nobody wanted to incriminate 'Tommy'.   (Here's your sign :)  

The Prosecutor did state that everyone heard "What are you trying to do, rob me?"  However, two of the State's witnesses said that it was an argument over the price of the drugs, not robbery.  Yet, we also cannot confirm or deny that an attempt to rob was made.....  we just had no evidence other than that statement.  

The bottom line was that we could not find him guilty on Count IV: Illegal possession of a firearm.  So if we couldn't prove that, how could we find him guilty of murder, felony murder and attempted robbery?  

We had more than a reasonable doubt.  

We were 14 strangers, that joined in our civic duty.  We served with pride and unbiased, as we were supposed to do.  We all took this case to heart, abided by the Court's rules.  And we all came to the exact same conclusion.   

There were no long deliberations.  No arguments.  No wavering thoughts.  We all thought the same thing:  Can we put 'G-man' in the kitchen?  With a gun?  Pulling the trigger?  

We had our verdict decided and ate pizza, compliments of the State, and buzzed the bailiff to recall the Court session.   

Not Guilty on all four counts....  

After the case was dismissed, the Judge came back to talk with us and thanked us for serving.  Some jurists asked her opinion of this case and she said she had questions from the beginning.  And that, in her opinion, we did the 'right' thing.  There was only circumstantial evidence and that is not enough to convict.  

She also told us she'd never seen a jury ask so many questions.  My fellow jurors all patted me on the back and said I was their 'detective'.  I asked the questions they all wanted to know, even the lawyers jumped on my bandwagon.  I asked them of every witness, except Mr. Johnson who was in the hospital.  

After one of my questions was asked of a witness, the prosecutor started a line of his own questions and the judge told him he should've asked these questions when he had the chance and not because a juror reminded him to do so!"  I about died right there!!   But I had questions, and each answer brought more questions into my head.  And ya'll know me~I am a curious Kitty ;)  

Needless to say, I loved this experience.  It made me feel good that our system works with the right people (meaning honest, unbiased, impartial people).  

This case was not pretty by any means.  It was wrong from the start.  We had to choose the lesser of several evils.  A man is dead and that is never good.  His killer may be loose still.  It may also be 'Tiny', who is incarcerated.  As are Tommy and Mrs. Smith.  We will never know.   

We talked to the Defense attorney, who also tried cases against the Judge when she was a prosecutor.  We told him we hoped his client will learn from this experience.  He told us he has been friends with 'G-man's' family for a long time.  And he hopes this man will wake up and start new.  

I do have to say that after the trial, on our way out of the building, we were detained by deputies due to an incident in front of the building with the families ('G-man's' and Mr. Smith's).   

We were escorted to our cars.  I did not drive again, so I caught a ride with a juror who lives relatively close to me.  Which was great because I did not want to be waiting alone for my ride.   That was scary. 

I hope it does not sway the other jurors not to serve again.  It didn't change my mind.  

Thanks for playing along with me.  This week of waiting and not being able to really write has not been easy.  But I didn't want any of the entries for the trial to go off my last 10 entry list over there....  

I'm back now  :)  

Cat

10 comments:

randlprysock said...

Wow!  This entry puts it all together!  I missed a lotta of these details.  I guess it's not exactly the same if seeing the testimoney and hearing the testimony but it makes more sense to me now.  I bet you were an impressive and excellent juror.  Hugs,
Lisa

redbaranjj said...

Very Interesting...
I guess I am not a vey good juror due to the fact that one, I didn't ask any questions, and two...I pegged him guilty by the first few statements that he was there, drug dealer, gun, and went on my prejudice way of thinking he was guilty for sure.  
Sure hope I don't react this way IF I am ever really picked for a case.  
Thanks for a great lesson Cat!!

*hugs*

quartrlyfecrysis said...

DANG!  I do hate being wrong :)

I was thinking he could be innocent, but I thought that Tammy was more credible than she was...seemed she didn't have anything to gain from lying about it.  Damn, I do hate being wrong!

Glad Kitty was there in real life to notice those things :)

xoxo~Bernie

billandnae said...

Makes perfect sense.  There were too many missing pieces anyway.

I say stick em all in a room with a big bag of heroin, lock the door, and let them kill each other for it, and that will prevent any further cases like this.

missboogerhead said...

Cat, sorry I missed the trial.  Man, I went back and read everything I missed, you sure did a lot of work here!  I think that is so cool!  I also commend you for making the only decision you could have... not guilty.  I have to admit that I may have wanted a guilty but don't think I could have let my feelings interfere with the evidence.
Good Job!
~Miss O

gaboatman said...

Cat
I'm proud of you, girl!  A job well done while doing your civic duty.  I'm glad I was wrong now that I see the "rest of the story."  This was interesting the way you did this series for us.  If called to serve, I will not shirk my responsibility.  Reading about how you handled all this will make the idea of serving a little easier for me.  Cat, you rock!
Sam

st0rmwhispers said...

I stayed out of the game.  I felt I know too much about law for it to be fair.  Sorry J-landers, you let your emotions and preconceived notions rule.  Cat and the jury made the right decision based upon the evidence, testimony, law and jury instructions.  That is the only way to base your decision when you are a jury member.  I may disagree sometimes with the guilt or innocent verdicts in my area but if we don't protect the letter of the law, Law itself will cease to exist.  It was fun reading all of it though!  

Cat, you are so good at this.  Maybe you should consider law!

courtenaymphelan said...

I have an AnniVoicery present for you...it is my voice in a dedication to Jimmy, Stupidsheetguy, as he departs for the hospital...Never fear! When journals are down,
there are other things to do here!!! Can you join the AnniVoicery? For the 2nd Aol J-Land celebration, August 29, 2005
Go to keyword AOL BY PHONE....fill in the information...it is a 30 day free trial...Be sure to cancel before the 30th day so you will not be billed...Then dial 1 800 AOL 1234! How easy is that??? I did it! Hey ! Why don't you do a voice entry today while the New entry Alerts are messed up? I know Jimmy would love to hear your voice when he gets out of the hospital.
Do you want to hear my poem to Jim? Go here:
http://journals.aol.com/courtenaymphelan/DISCERNMENT/

sieblonde said...

For some reason, I didn't get any alerts during your trial entries!  BAH.  I missed Jury Duty.

onecrazymomto5 said...

I guess there is no need to go back and play now!!!  BUMMER!!  I guess this also means you did get pulled to serve!
Colleen