This week, I had jury duty at the Van Nuys courthouse.
I LOVE jury duty. I think it's absolutely FASCINATING. I've served on 3 juries: 2 civil and one criminal. The criminal cases are certainly the more unsettling ones, and introduce you to people and walks of life that you might not normally encounter. Even the witnesses can be pretty dicey. But that in itself is fascinating.
When I was among 85 jurors summoned to a courtroom on Tuesday, I was pretty sure we were looking at a criminal case. I have never been on a case where that many potential jurors were called. I discovered why soon enough: The charges in this case were multiple counts of child sexual abuse, along with other related charges. The child in question was expected to testify.
As you might imagine, no one wants to sit on a jury like this. No one wants to hear this case. I certainly did not. But as voir dire progressed (the questioning of the jurors by the judge and attorneys), I was amazed and saddened to learn how many of my fellow jury-duty peeps were abuse victims themselves. I was impressed by their candor and composure. After the first day, I decided that I WOULD do my best to buck-up and serve on this case if they wanted me, because I knew that with all these abuse victims in the prospective pool, they'd need me.
As it happened, we all lucked out, and the case settled the next day. ::whew::
Wow. What a nightmare case THAT woulda been.
We don't know what happened to the accused. I don't know how you "plea-bargain" on a charge like this...
I'm glad I was available to serve, and a little disappointed that I didn't get the opportunity to see a case thru to its conclusion.
If YOU get the chance to serve on jury duty, I recommend you take it. It's an experience you'll never forget, and you'll be the better for it
p.s.: I "live-tweeted" what info I could at: #K8sJuryDuty2011 ! It was fun!