Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unreasonable Doubt V: Lather, Repeat, Rinse

(Deliberations get sloppy after I hang the jury on count 4.)

Twenty-two pairs of eyes watched to see what inane, bumbling excuse I would present.

"Lots of things were said about the wife," I began, "but isn't the count of intimidation about the husband?"

Nothing for a moment. I glanced down at the table, wondering if I'd fold like the Red Sox in September.

"Oh, maybe it is," said the regular businessman.

I wanted to give him a big man hug.

"Okay, then let's discuss this," said the foreman.

Just as we got underway, the bailiff strolled back in. "Judge says you've got 20 more minutes."

With four counts remaining that worked out to five minutes a count. This set off a frenzy of deliberation and cross-talk with an irate foreman finally yelling for order. A system of raising hands was quickly instituted. However the system was misunderstood to mean that as long as you raised your hand and kept it up you could begin speaking immediately.

Nevertheless, deliberations inched ahead between rationalists and psychologists. Occasionally, a member of the Silent Minority interjected something along the lines of, "If the defendant was a musician, how come they never showed a photograph of him playing music? I think that would've helped."

The intimidation count was now deadlocked with rationalists leaning toward guilt and psychologists inclined toward acquittal. With time ticking away, it was decided to jump ahead to another count as if these were multiple choice exam questions.

But counts 4, 6 and 7 were linked by time and place involving actions that took place in the bathroom following the beating. You couldn't really pry them apart, though we tried briefly, ending in split decisions.

(Count five had been dropped in pre-trial. I think it involved making a false charge of glottal wailing.)

Ah, but count 8 dealt with the temporary restraining order allegedly violated by Mr. Pak. Here was a stand-alone count; one we could sink our teeth into.

I knew Mr. Pak spoke acceptable Quisnos English. I believed the Korean-speaking detective who testified he'd explained the restraining order to Mr. Pak. I believed another cop who testified that Mr. Pak had blurted out in English, 'Why should I leave the apartment? It's my place.' I believed Mr. Pak was guilty of violating the restraining order.

So when the time came to raise our hands...I voted to acquit along with everyone else.

There was a sense that Mr. Pak had eventually left the apartment without the cops being called. Besides, we'd found him guilty on all the big stuff like hitting his wife. Besides, everyone wanted to go home. Besides, I'd already hung a count and wasn't ready to hang another.

Our rush to judgement was suddenly ended by the bailiff.

We'd have to return Monday and finish up.

A quick verdict didn't seem promising.

I wanted to ululate.

Next and Last: Count Down

Images: Xavier School & bluebuddies.com

6 comments:

Luke said...

A cliff-hanger! So, when you're on jurry duty, what are you supposed to be doing inbetween court sessions?

John P. McCann said...

During the week, you're in court most of the day.

Afterwards, you're not supposed to discuss the case with anyone.

Oh, and you're stuck in traffic a lot.

Luke said...

Well, Let's be sure not to disscuss the case. You can post it in your online journal ;) just don't disscuss it with anyone, I may sway your opinion. journal ;) just don't disscuss it with anyone, I may sway your opinion.

John P. McCann said...

No discussion while the trial is in session. Afterwards, gab away—but not for money.

In California jurors can't sell their stories for 90 days.

Not that I'm worried about that.

Tom Ruegger said...

I shall ululate till the next chapter. (I trust ululating is not similar to micterating.)

John P. McCann said...

You're safe ululating. Especially if you live in Korea Town.