Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Serving Justice

I wish I could show you some stitching progress here, but it is not going to happen. Yes, I started jury service yesterday and brought Cut-Thru Rocket to work on, but the Nevada court system is a LOT more organized than the previous jury service I sat through in California. (No, DebiJean, I had no problem bringing in small scissors, needle threader and needle. I think they are only looking for guns and knives!) In California I sat for an entire day waiting to be called. Yesterday, although I was not quite awake at 8 am when I reported, they got all 1,000 people processed and shown a film by 9 am and the first group of 70 was gone and to their court by 9:10 am. I was in the second group and was lined up for a courtroom by 9:15 am.

Our judge is Timothy C. Williams. If I ever have to go to court, I hope I get a judge as articulate and compassionate as he is. He explained thoroughly the duties of a jury and how we would proceed. There was actually a lot of laughter as we went through the voir dire process, where each of us were asked if we could faithfully make a judgment on this civil, medical malpractice case and if we could refrain from judgment until all the facts of the case could be presented. I am now Juror #5 and will be back in court on Wednesday and Thursday (possibly Friday). This is certainly better than a criminal case or the O. J. Simpson case, which will be empaneled in the same courthouse possibly as early as next week.

The most interesting instruction from the judge was not to look up anything about this case on the internet. There was some instructions in the beginning pamphlet about not doing any private investigations on your own, but now with the internet, jurors could educate themselves about various aspects of a case to the detriment of the trial itself. We should come to our conclusions using only the knowledge presented by both lawyers and their witnesses. They were careful to exclude jurors who might have too much prejudicial medical knowledge. After the initial opening statements I am strangely not inclined to one side or the other. I am looking forward to the witnesses who will present testimony on Wednesday and to hearing from the other jurors after all witnesses are presented. Everyone says they are openminded, but will that really be the case when we have to decide responsibility and possible monetary damages?

I could have stitched this weekend, but I was working on a Sekret Projekt, so no picture for a couple of weeks. I am also relieved that this trial is dark today so that I can pick up James from the airport this morning. He is flying from Honolulu to Las Vegas and should be landing late this morning assuming the gods of flight don't have any more surprises for him.


Anna van Schurman said...

I remember my L.A. service--ten days of sitting in a giant room while race riots erupted over whether we would watch Oprah or whoever the white woman was opposite her. It's changed now and it's one and done (one day or one trial). Still, I'm sure they're not that organized! Have fun.

Sonda in OR said...

My experience with jury duty was not very good. I hope you have a good one, though, and that justice prevails!! :)