Friday, November 14, 2008

Civic Doody

So! I did it! We finished our case. It was a pretty good case:

I don't know about you guys, but I really do love jury duty. Not just being on a jury, but the whole thing. I love going downtown to Daley Center and sitting in that huge room with every example of American life. I love watching the "orientation video" with Lester Holt telling me about my duties. I love how quiet it is in this room with 100 people in it, munching quietly on Cheetos.

So I sat in this huge room, waiting expectantly for my number to be called. Once called I grabbed up all my things and we headed upstairs. The people running this show for the city were ON THE BALL. They move fast, there's not much waiting and once you really get going it really moves quickly. The clerks were extremely kind and nice to us potential jurors.

We seated ourselves in a courtroom, there must have been about 30 of us and the judge lets us know that this is a criminal case. Most cases at Daley are civil, so to get on a criminal case is exciting!

So they call 14 of our names and we sit in the jury box and get questioned! The prosecuting attorney asks us things, the judge asks us things, then the extremely theaterical, tv-like, dramatic defense attorney starts asking questions, weird questions and he's asking people things and all of a sudden he says "MS. HICKS! What was the last movie you saw?" and I flustered around for a bit before telling him it was Changeling and I didn't like it. I felt like I was at an audition! And that I really wanted the part.

Eventually they pick the jurors and by this time its like 4:00 on Weds and they tell us the story of Anthony Ignoffo.

Anthony is a 20 year old who was allegedly driving under the influence. But the defense attorney starts yelling at us that Anthony was NOT driving the car. But WHY THE CONFUSION? BECAUSE ANTHONY IGNOFFO HAS AN IDENTICAL TWIN BROTHER!

So cool.

So we hear from the cop on the scene, Anthony Ignoffo and his twin brother, Jonathan Ignoffo.

Now there were bits and pieces of the story that definitely did not shake out with the twins stories, they had given testimony about a year ago and a bunch of what they said this time did not match what they said last time. But interesting that the burden of proof lies on the prosecuter of course, and there was no one, NO ONE, that had seen Anthony driving the car.

We jurors got back in the room for deliberations, my favorite part. We're yelling and screaming and talking about the case (which we had not been allowed to do until this point) and finally we realize the question is not if the boys are lying, or the cop is lying or the attorneys are lying, but did the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Anthony was driving the car? We all voted that no, they didn't, except for one older lady who just couldn't vote not guilty because she knew the boys were lying, but of course, that doesn't matter!

So anyway, we sway her and pronounce him NOT GUILTY!

The judge came to answer questions afterward, he was so nice. We got lunches and breakfasts, we had fascinating talks about the law, we laughed at the defendants father who kept snickering through the proceedings, we marvelled at the system that would let 12 jerks like us decide his fate.

It was a really interesting couple of days and I have a good feeling about the system. Everyone was so nice to us, things moved quickly, I believe fully that justice was done, that all of us considered very deeply what our decision was going to be and the defense attorney said on our way out that we will remember this case for the rest of our lives.

I believe he's right too, I know I will.

It's nice to help America out. And the $36.00 bucks I made will go to something important, like Thai dinner delivered tonight.

Have a great Friday America!


Mr. B said...

You might have already thought of this, but you should probably change the names of the people involved with the case that you're talking about. I think you leave yourself open to possible legal action for publicly discussing details of a recent trial. At the very least, a savvy lawyer can tag you for libel (or slander, whichever one is in print and not verbal).
And Google caches these pages for up to 6 months, sometimes. So, change it now, so that it can eventually be stricken from the iternets, altogether.
Best just to change the names to keep the experience, but to protect yourself.


Hixx said...

Thanks Biddle! But I actually asked the judge if I could write about it. He said I could write about anything I wanted, evidence, opinion, real names, etc.