I received a summons to jury duty in the mail on April Fool’s Day. Four weeks later I reported to the courthouse as directed. I’ve been summoned a few times over the years, but until this year I had only served on one jury. That was a civil case, long ago. Now, I was at the courthouse where they handle the criminal cases. It’s new – opened in 2010 – and not lavish, but pleasant and modern.
I served on a jury this time – a case in county court, where the misdemeanors go. The trial didn’t take long. We heard the evidence the first day, and returned the next day for the court’s instructions, counsel’s closing arguments, and jury deliberations.
As I rode the light rail train home after the first day, I realized that I really had not yet decided how I would vote during deliberations. Not making up your mind until it’s over: that’s a standard instruction from the judge to the jury. I heard it many times when I tried cases as a lawyer, and always wondered if any jurors did keep an open mind.
Our jury deliberations were animated but civil. Everyone participated fully, and we all wanted to render a verdict in accordance with the evidence, the law and the judge’s instructions. After it was over, I was comfortable that we did that.
The weather on Day One was rainy, but the next day we were back to late April glorious happy Denver spring. Good photo opps on the walk to the courthouse.