Jury Duty 1999

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Jury Duty 1999

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I served Jury Duty in the Compton Municipal Courthouse, June 1 through June 10, 1999. Here's the story.

Thursday, June 10, 1999. Not Guilty Case Number 9CM00644, Crystal Lee Tall. Prosecutor: Amy Deamicis, Public Defender: Aparna Voleti, Judge: Kelvin D. Filer, Commissioner, Division 3, Municipal Court, Compton Judicial District.

Okay, we're done with the trial, so I can talk about it now. It was a DUI case. The defendant had a drink at a bar, then drove a few blocks and got pulled over because her lights were off. The police officer smelled alcohol on her breath, and made her do the field sobriety tests. She started all of the tests, but didn't finish any of them. After that, he took her to the police station where they attempted to give her a breathalyzer test. She didn't blow into the machine, so they never got a reading.

We heard testimony from two police officers, the bar tender, an expert witness, and the defendant. We started deliberations late Tuesday, and continued on Wednesday. At one point we were 6/6. By the end of Wednesday, it was 5 guilty to 7 not guilty. But after thinking it over for the evening, everyone decided "Not Guilty". All 12 of us thought that the "special allegation" of refusing the chemical tests was true, but that turned out not to matter. That would only have come into play if we had decided on "Guilty".

After the trial, some of us stuck around to talk to the attorneys. We found out that the defendant's mother had died at some point during the trial. Also, we asked why the D.A. had filed this case, with so little evidence. They thought it was enough evidence, even though there was less evidence in this case than other DUI cases they try. They had offered a plea bargain, which the defendant didn't take, so they ended up trying the case with the evidence they have, rather than dismissing it.

During deliberations on Wednesday, there was some heated discussion. Annie, Juror #6, wrote a poem and printed it on her computer during lunch that day, and brought it that afternoon. That really helped morale. Here's a copy of the poem.

I'm going to try to get the transcript of the trial. When I do, I'll probably post it on this web page.

Update: June 13, 1999We gave a copy of Annie's poem to Commissioner Kelvin Filer after the trial was over. He usually writes thank-you letters to each of the jury, but this time, he wrote a poem since we had given him one. Here's a copy of his poem he wrote to us. Also, I heard rumor that transcripts cost $4 a page. If that is true, I won't be getting the whole transcript afterall!

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Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Apr 20, 2006.