Welcome back!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm not sure if the "Welcome back!" is directed more towards you or me, but nevertheless, I am back in blogging business!

Again, I apologize for my absence this past week, but I really appreciate you being so understanding of the delicate situation I was in.

I'm not going to go into great detail about the trial or risk sensationalizing anything by putting my own emotional spin on what happened over the past 6 days, so if you're itching to know the case and what it entailed, I'll tell you thisit's easily searchable on the internet.

So yes, to answer the one question I've been asked repeatedly, it was a murder trial.

I didn't know that going into the courthouse last Monday. All I knew is that I was sardined into a tiny courtroom with about 65 other people who were ticked off and making it very obvious how inconvenienced they were. While we waited patiently for the selection process to begin, I caught bits and pieces of the same conversation taking place in almost every corner of the room: "What do I have to say to get out of here?"

I can't explain how or why I knew, but I had absolutely zero doubt in my mind that I was going to be one of the 12 jurors selected. You know how sometimes you just get that feeling like you already know what's going to happen, like a premonition? Well, I had that feeling so strongly that I pulled out my copy of The Hobbit and made myself comfortable. I knew I was going to have to ride this thing out.

Why God wanted me on that jury panel, I might never know. But it happened.

We didn't know that it was a murder trial until close to the end of the selection process. When I heard the word "murder", a knot twisted in my gut and remained firmly in place until we delivered our final verdict to the judge. I unfortunately had very little trouble digesting killing and violence in my movie and television choices previously, but I was completely unprepared for what impact a similar "real life" situation would have on my heart and soul.

I'm afraid to comment on what myself and the other 13 jurors went through (there were 2 alternate jurors who had to be there in case one of us got sick or fled the country. Ha!) because I don't want to come across as melodramatic or clichéd. Me, the writer, is having an immensely difficult time trying to articulate what the experience was like and how it has changed me.

Because let's face it, being a juror on this case did change me. I just can't put into words how exactly. I need more time to process what happened and more time to fully understand the breadth of deciding whether or not another human being is guilty of murder.

So many of my friends said they were jealous of my stint as a juror and wished that they could be in my shoes. I wasn't sure how to react to their statements. Yes, I did get a first-class education on our judicial system and yes, I did have a brief moment of "Oh my gosh! Just like Law and Order!" the first time I heard an attorney yell "Objection, Your Honor!", but passing judgement on my fellow man isn't exactly "fun".

The truth of the matter is that I was privy to things I will never be able to unsee or unhear for as long as I live. There are images and descriptions that are forever burned into my memory in such a way that they pop into my consciousness when I least expect it. Every single person in that courtroom wanted desperately to find the truth, and it unfortunately matters very little what repercussions that search will have on everyone involved.

(P.S.: My deodorant failed me many, many times throughout the course of this past week. What makes me sweaty? EVERYTHING.)

Looking for justice or not, having a picture of your death blown up on a teleprompter or passed around a courtroom in glossy photographed-detail is not dignified. It's hard to remain stony-faced and unmoved by what you're seeing because I don't care who's side you're on or who you believe did it, the fact remains: someone was murdered and sadness and anger are genuine, natural human emotions.

We were put on this particular jury because both the defense and the prosecution believed that each and every one of us could be unbiased, honest jurors who could find the truth amongst manipulation, speculation, and sensationalism. We were expected to believe that the defendant was innocent until proven guilty without any reasonable doubt. We were trusted to weigh all of the facts and come to a unanimous conclusion.

And that's exactly what we did.

One bright spot I can draw attention to is the fact that this experience definitely reassured me of the health of our justice system.

So to answer the linger question of "how was it" ... I don't know. I really don't.

I was back at work for less than two hours today before I got my first email from a "concerned friend" looking to feed some morbid curiosity by asking for gritty details. I'm sorry, but I won't entertain those inquiries. Chances are, I won't answer any personal questions pertaining to the case because it's just not necessary to discuss. You can read about it for yourselves. It was a public trial, you could have attended. I'm very thankful to everyone in advance for respecting the situation for what it is.

I have every intention of getting back into the swing of things blogwise and falling back into my old routine this week. I gotta admit, coming back to work today was trippy, to say the least. I almost forgot how to do my job. I was only gone from the office for 6 work days, but I was so emotionally overloaded during the trial that I considered taking a personal day to decompress and get my wits about me again.

But I'm here.

And you're here.

And that's all I care about.

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3 comments

  1. Good for you for getting yourself back into the swing of things, and I hope the upcoming holidays put a more positive spin on your December. It's really unfortunate that you've been pestered for details, but I'm not surprised; it's the same thing as people who slow down to take a look at a car accident. Just ignore them, and do what you need to do to decompress!

    And let me know if I can do anything! I can't exactly take you for a nice long run to clear your mind(/sigh), but I make good brownies! :) (Technically Betty Crocker makes good brownies - I just provide AWESOME eggs and milk, or something like that....)

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  2. Oh, THAT trial. Holy crap. I'm so sorry, that must have been draining.

    I've never served on a jury, but I have had to testify under oath in a courtroom, so I too know there's nothing glamorous about it. It was educational but not an experience I'm eager to repeat.

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  3. I haven't served on a jury but have testified in not one but two court cases involving brutality (one of them being death) and it is certainly a very emotionally draining experience. I'm glad you're back into your normal life and hopefully you can get comfortable again, soon.

    If you'd like to decompress and talk about anything other than that (you know like Glee, or cooking or any random tom-foolery) you know my number. <3 <3

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