I've never served on a jury and I don't want to.
This afternoon I saw a rerun of a true crime show that focused on a cop accused of murdering his mistress. The police department fiercely fought what appeared to be the evidence at first but finally gave in and arrested him. He was found guilty and sentenced to eighty years in prison. There were those who felt he should have been given the death penalty.
His mistress was found in a burning house. She'd been stabbed multiple times. The DA contended that in panic the cop first contrived the scene to look like a burglary and then decided to set it on fire. A good deal of the evidence rested on the local fire marshal's assessment of the time the fire had been set and how long it had been burning. The cop argued that he arrived at the scene when the house was on fire. A neighbor said he saw the cop rush in to save her but was too late.
The cop foolishly took a lie detector test without consulting a lawyer. He failed. I'm with Ted Kennedy on this one. Lie detectors are a joke, deadly ones in some cases. The cop also did something else foolish. When the DA got him on the stand the cop got sarcastic and belittled the DA and the oter cops he now saw as his enemies. Not exactly a good way to impress the jury. He was sentenced and sent off to prison.
A young woman who'd known the cop most of his life so believed in his innocence that she left her teaching job and went to law school just so she could work on his case and prove his innocence. This wasn't a romance. She was happily married. She just didn't believe her friend had done what the DA had accused him of doing.
Over nine years the woman has become a lawyer and gotten two highly regarded fire experts to help her dispute the tesimony of the fire marshal. The cop is interviewed throughout the hour and he struck me as beleivable.
This is why I wouldn't want to be on a jury. If I been impaneled on the first jury I'd have voted for conviction. But if I'd been able to hear the two fire experts I probably would have voted him innocent.
I'm not smart enough to make judgements on a man or woman's life. I'd want to hear a videotaped confession as well as a videotaped scene of the murder being committed before I made up my mind.
Unless the defendant was OJ of course. That one I could've voted guilty on without undue doubts.