Looking around I wondered if this assembled group really were my peers.

If I were the one on trial, how would they see me? A criminal because I had been accused of a crime and arrested on charges of doing something unlawful? Innocent until proven guilty?

I spent the better part of the day in a Butte County courtroom last month as a potential juror in a battery case. An inmate was accused of battering a corrections officer. The defendant looked nervous, with his leg shaking much of the time. Mine would too no matter if I were guilty or not.

What a great people watching venue. Loved sitting next to a woman who is a middle school teacher. We had similar comments about “our peers” who had been called to the jurors’ box to be questioned by the opposing attorneys.

We wanted to strangle the people who would not give a direct answer, therefore prolonging how long we all sat there. Just say you are biased and move on. Be truthful. It’s OK. We’re already judging you, so it doesn’t matter. You’re making it worse for yourself, the attorney and the rest of us.

One woman could not understand how someone could have been battered without being injured. The defense attorney wanted to know if all the potential jurors could convict someone if the victim had not been injured. This woman argued there is no way someone could be battered without being injured. The assistant district attorney explained the legal definition. She acquiesced and said, well, if it’s the law, then I guess so.

People were asked if anyone close to them were in law enforcement, and how that might impact their impartiality.

A couple people talked about how they don’t have good feelings toward cops of any kind. When pressed they said they would try to be open minded. One woman in particular shared how politically she is more liberal and therefore doesn’t trust law enforcement. What the hell? Really?

What a false generalization that liberals don’t like cops and conservatives do. Hope she never needs help from law enforcement.

Another question was if people had knowledge of the case from the news or elsewhere. I was going to have to answer “yes” because when the judge said the defendant’s name I Googled him. At that point the judge hadn’t told us to not look on the internet about the case and to not talk to anyone in the room or outside of it about the case. That probably ought to be said at the get-go.

It still amazes me what people wear to court. One guy was in shorts. Another wore an NRA T-shirt that said: “Never mess with a man’s family.” Neither got the opportunity to be dismissed, or picked.

I still want to be on a jury. This trial was to last one to two days. The other jury being seated that day was in for a four-week stint; that would have been tough since I’m still working. Glad to have done my civic duty if only for a few hours.

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