Jury Duty is officially over for me. Today I was dismissed. After the closing arguments and the instructions from the judge, he let me go. Apparently I was an alternate. We think they didn't want us to know who the alternates were so that we'd all pay attention! (I really don't know why they did it this way or if it's normal.) The other alternate and I left and were then able to discuss the case. He was on the same page that I was. And I'm pretty sure the rest were as well. I'm hoping they post the verdict on the courthouse website eventually, I feel like I need some closure!
In case you are interested in the case, you can read the news story about it here. And the reason I thought he was guilty so early was not because of how he looked. But because the lawyers stated the charges and mentioned that police officers were the witnesses. The charges included stealing a car, leading police on a car chase through the city, causing 2 accidents, and then running away from police on foot after he crashed his car into a house. And then after all that, he resisted arrest after they tackled him. They had to taser him twice. I could not imagine how you could be innocent of all that, especially if the police were the witnesses and they were the ones who chased him down and eventually arrested him. Why would someone run away from the police if they didn't do anything wrong?
Even the guys own lawyer said he was guilty during his closing arguments. I guess the whole trial was about the "degree" with which the crimes were that he committed. Sure, he stole a car. But, was it Grand Larceny? Or did he intend on returning it? It was afterall a car of an acquaintance that he took without permission. Apparently there's a BIG difference between stealing something and taking something without permission. (Who knew!?) That charge was my sticking point, but today the judge offered a lesser degree for that charge. I'm pretty sure I would have gone with that. But guilty on the rest.
I feel shortchanged that I didn't get to vote with the rest of the jury or see how that end of the process worked. It was overall a good experience, although very boring at times. I am glad I did it, and kind of sad that I didn't get to finish what I started. But I'm happy I don't have to do it again for 8 years.