Monday, March 23, 2009

The jury has made its decision.

It likes the Google.

The Times opines about the case that was declared a mistrial and all of the jurors were dismissed because every one of them had Googled facts about the case they were on.

Wow, what a surprise.

I few years ago I served on a jury. It was a murder trial chock full of details that make headlines: A gay man was lured to his killer with promises of sex and drugs. There was a possibility of the murderer being in a gang. Of the three who killed the gullible young man, one was only 16 at the time. This was our defendant, a kid who looked almost angelic in court, but had knowlingly taken part in a brutal assault on a poor bastard who was just looking to get a smoke and a cuddle. What he got instead was a beating, a shot to the head, one in the ear, and a toss into the river where he drowned.

During voir dire the prosecutor noted my occupation and asked what I wrote. I told her, "Books."

"The kind of books where people get killed?"

"Yes, Ma'am, those are exactly the kind of books I write."

I had said on the form that my family had been the victim of a crime. She asked who was the victim. I said, "My wife's sister. She was murdered."

"And what did you think of that?"

"I didn't make me think highly of my brother-in-law."

Surprisingly, they kept me on.

As a writer who loves research, I wanted to read the newspaper reports about the crime on line, and was even mildly curious as to what reporters were saying about the trial itself. My computer beckoned, offering up all ity had for one quick Google. What could it hurt?

But I didn't. I waited until after the trial. But I was tempted.

Have you ever served on a jury? And would you ever, on the sly, sneak a peek at news stories even if you were told not to? You can tell us. It'll be our little secret.


norby said...

The jury I was on was for a one day trial. Thank God. It was, to put it mildly, a white trash reunion in the court room. The prosecutor looked like he wanted to be somewhere else.

I was voted chairperson of the jury because no one else wanted to have to speak out loud in court.

I missed a day of school for that.

Gerard Saylor said...

No, I wouldn't look. I don't want to serve on a jury but I won't shirk the service. Working in a place with jury leave makes a big difference.