Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My run in with the law!

"The man who represents himself has a fool for a client" Abe Lincoln.

I concur with Abe. I had my first opportunity at jury duty last week and it was a very enlightening and interesting endeavor. The defendant was charged with burglary and driving with a suspended licence. During the selection process we were told the defendant would be representing himself. I thought "Do people actually do that?!?" We found out real quick why most people don't and shouldn't. He got up to give opening arguments and it was BAD. He brought up stuff from his past that was pretty incriminating, started pulling out evidence, which hadn't even been allowed yet. He talked about how nervous he was. (Public speaking tip #1, NEVER tell anyone how nervous you are!) Then after stuttering and stammering he said to us, I don't think I can do this, I want my lawyer to represent me. The judge, who was none too pleased, asked the defendant and the prosecuting lawyer to approach and we were sent out for about two hours and wondered what the heck was going to happen. Finally we were called back and the defendant had his lawyer and we got down to business and were told to disregard the opening statement by the defendant. The trial lasted for 3 days. We had a great jury. Everyone worked together so well. We deliberated for over two hours, weighing the evidence. We convicted him on both counts. The judge came into the jury room later to tell us that there was another charge against him we weren't told about, habitual offender, and after we convicted him of the other charges he pleaded guilty to that. So that confirmed to us that we did the right thing. Some other information I found out after the trial gave me complete afirmation of our judgement. So as usual, I am sleeping great at night!

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