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My Jury Experience

Posted in Making a Difference

by Dana Ard

I received my first ever jury summons letter in mid-February. Since the dates that I was to appear were in convention week, I requested a postponement, and was soon notified by mail that my dates of service would be April 5-9. I was told that I would have to call in at the end of each week day to find out when I needed to appear at the Ada County court house.

I called in on Saturday night, before the Monday which began my time of service. I learned that I would need to appear at the Courthouse at 12:30 on that Monday, April 5 at 12:30. When I arrived, I was checked in through security, and a marshal escorted me to the 4th floor and into the large room where the prospective jurors were to wait. There was an informational video played, describing jury service.

About an hour after arrival, about 35 of the 100 plus prospective jurors were given placards with a number on them. We were told to line up in order and move to a room where we would be interviewed. My number was 7.

The judge, Michael Reardon, asked questions which focused on our critical thinking and analytical skills as well as learning about our biases. Near the end of his questioning, he asked if there was anyone who had never been summoned for jury duty. I raised my placard, because although my husband was called at least 5 times, I had never been summoned for jury duty. He then asked who was excited to serve on a jury. I raised my placard and I was invited to speak. I explained that I was honored to be there even if I wasn’t selected. I stated that I wanted to fulfill my civic duty and serve on a jury. After a short recess, we returned to our room for a few more comments from the judge and then the selection began. Numbers were called: 4,6 and then 7! I was selected to serve on the jury for the trial!

The defendant in the trial was accused of knowingly possessing, depositing, and attempting to cash a stolen third party check. I took braille notes on all of the witness testimonies, as well as the guidance from the judge on what we had to consider when deciding this case of grand theft. When we began deliberations, I thought the case was a slam dunk. I believed that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but, surprisingly, not everyone agreed with me initially. After approximately 2 hours, we reach consensus that the defendant was indeed guilty as charged. Following our rendering of the verdict in court, we learned that the defendant had two prior similar charges.

 

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