Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I Helped Convict an Online Sexual Predator


I know what you must be thinking because my blog post title reads like a 
tabloid one sees at the grocery check out.  I apologize, but I was really
trying to get your attention to convey what is a very important topic.  Grab a 
comforting cup of tea or coffee, and maybe a snack because this is going to
be another long blog post.  No pretty pictures, just the facts m'am.

Last month I was summoned for jury duty.  I have been summoned before
when I lived in Idaho, but never had to serve because I was not needed.  I
assumed that would be the case again.  I based this on the fact that David
had been called to serve shortly after we moved here, but was not needed.
So I showed up on the designated date, and the next thing I knew, my number
was called.

My first thoughts were these ~ I don't mind serving on a jury, but this is a
really inconvenient time.  I so hope that if I am called, it will be a quick
trial and I will have fulfilled my duty for a while.

No such luck.  I was called and I had a low number in a group of 84
potential jurors.  We were each given a number on a large laminated
sign.  We were to stand and hold up our number when one of the attorneys
called it out.  Out of a field of 84, I was number 22.  Our numbers were
randomly chosen by a computer.  Now the process of narrowing down the
field would begin.

I soon realized that the attorneys were focusing their questions on the
jurors with the low numbers.   This is not so good, I thought.  I started doing
the math.  I was number 22 and they needed a field of 12.  This was not
going my way, yet perhaps there was a chance to still get out of this.
Then I heard my number being called.  I stood up and raised my card.
The question from the attorney was this ....

How do you feel about sting operations?

This was my chance to get out of the running for the jury.  I could have
lied and said, I think it is a form of entrapment and dislike the concept.
Instead, I truthfully said ....

I think they are helpful to catch potential criminal activity.

Bingo ~ I do believe that was the clincher.  We took a long recess
while the attorneys decided our fate.

When we were called back in, we no longer had numbers.  Instead
the jurors would be called by name.  Thirteen names, 12 for the jury
and one alternate.  I nervously waited through the names being called
one by one,  up to number 11, that's when I heard my name ....
Susan Freeman.  Everyone else was thanked for their service and
dismissed.  I kept thinking ... why do you have to be so darn
competitive?   Not everything is worth winning.

We were asked to sit in the jury box.  Previously we were sitting
in the area of the court room reserved for trial visitors or witnesses.
Suddenly the room had a new perspective.   Now I was a juror sitting
in the jury box.  My mind flashed back to hundreds of episodes
of Law and Order.  We were told the rules of the court and given
some information about the nature of the case that was about to
be tried.  The judge and attorneys had now taken their positions.
The defendant was present.

The case was... the online sexual solicitation of a minor.

I now understood the seriousness of the crime.  There was
no turning back, and no wishing I were somewhere else.
I was about to be immersed in the unpleasant facts and testimony.
As a member of the jury, I would be striving for justice.  I was
suddenly glad to be there.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley




19 comments:

  1. Interesting! Looking forward to part 2.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. I am happy that I served as well. When you read about the importance of this case and how young people are at risk, I think you will agree that this topic needs to be addressed.

      Delete
  3. I was called, but due to my age I was excused. I have been called so many times and called, to the jury box, dismissed because I was a victim of a crime. Waited for days in the jury pool room.
    I am glad that you are on the jury as I know that you will give a good verdict. Looking for the next post.

    So glad that you and yours are okay.

    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been called twice and only asked once to be excused from duty since I knew the accused/ and her family. I have a jaundiced view of some of these cases. But it is the way our legal system works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also believe that knowing how things work, or don't work is important if it means that improvement can be achieved.

      Delete
  5. I've been called just once. How interesting to read about your experience. Looking forward to part 2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad that I served despite being initially reluctant to do so.

      Delete
  6. Good for you! Glad you are okay in TX.
    Brenda

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm glad you were there, because these predators need to be caught and convicted! Thank you for serving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they do need to be caught and convicted. Kids always need to be protected. I cannot tolerate the abuse of the young, the elderly or animals and will always fight for their safety!!

      Delete
  8. Susan I am glad you did not "try to get out of it". Once you serve on a jury you find out it is not like the movies or TV. I served 30 years ago and this year I am again on on the list, waiting for call, actually second letter. Here in RI you are on the list for one year ,can be called at any time. This is our responsibility just like voting! Proud of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Despite being annoyed about being called to serve, I did serve proudly and will happily do it again if I am needed.

      Delete
  9. I also went to jury duty and thought I would be released because my occupation was of a corporate investigator, which I was sure they didn't want anyone of an "enforcement" type. I was wrong and served as an alternate. It was an interesting experience and I think the most important thing I remembered was the gravity and responsibility of the situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alternates are important too. We were dismissed from trial for several days because of hurricane Harvey. Sadly, one of the jurors suffered a stroke during that break. I do hope he will be okay. The hospitals were air lifting incoming critical patients out to other cities because the storm prevented them from being adequately treated here.

      Delete
  10. I understand the seriousness of your being on that jury. Several years ago I served on a jury of unlawful sex with a minor. We convicted him and he received 8 years in prison. Knowing that you took 8 years of someone's live is not a comfortable feeling, however, you have to convict because of how the law reads even if you think both were at fault. My daughter started receiving threats from this man's step-daughter to the point that I had to go the judge about it. He took care of the matter immediately. I hope this trial didn't cause you a lot of stress.

    ReplyDelete

Bentley and I LOVE and read every comment.

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