Scales of justice

I got to be up close and personal with the law this week as I was not only picked for jury duty but was actually chosen to serve on a jury.

Georgia used to have pretty liberal laws as it relates to jury duty, and it was easy for white collar professionals to avoid serving. That has changed. In fact I was sitting next to a doctor in the jury waiting room.

As luck would have it, I was among 30 prospective jurors chosen to be queried by the prosecution and defense attorneys. During jury selection, I was picked as juror #12 and thus the last juror to decide the case.

Having two preschool girls, I wasn't eager to hear a case of sexual assault and child molestation, but that was my lot. After sitting through the trial, it surprises me--no, it scares me that the defendant was charged. The Assistant District Attorney did a poor job of prosecuting the case, and the police investigation was beyond incompetent (failing to interview potential witnesses, never visiting the location of the alleged attack, not knowing key details of the child's home life as it related to other adult males, and never answering two critical questions the child refused to answer). There was absolutely no evidence other than he said/she said, and an innocent man's life has been hell for two years as a result.

Jury deliberation was very interesting, and I'm growing to dislike evangelical Christians more and more. Something bad happened to a little girl, but just because a defendant is black and male does not mean that individual should be the one to pay for the crime. Fortunately logic and reason prevailed, but only after hours of challenging the juror's stubborn belief that was not supported by evidence.

In the end justice was served and an innocent man is free, though it wasn't a pretty process.