Beyond Reasonable Doubt

The sun simmered red as it slunk towards the jagged horizon.  Tomorrow I would have to report to jury duty, but I had heard that it is generally not in the court’s best interest to spend their time and resources to track down people who don’t respond to their summons, so I could probably get away with blowing this off.  Sure I might show up for jury duty and be found exempt after some initial questioning and I know that serving on a jury is a civic duty and part of what keeps the American judicial system honest, but it is also inconvenient.  I thought of Maya Angelou when she said, “You only are free when you realize you belong no place you belong every place”, and maybe I belonged on the jury.  However, I could have this all wrong, as freedom and belonging seem like opposites to me, because anytime I join a group, it seems that I lose some of my freedom.  Freedom is the need to be independent, but freedom only flourishes when it exists in a social atmosphere.  Fundamental human rights must exist, otherwise freedom will be nothing more than melted ice cream.

The next morning the Sun rose like a smiling face speaking gentle words to me about what a great day this was going to be. This gave me renewed energy, so I showered got dressed in casual attire and had my breakfast and then I drove over to the court house.  I waited in the jury assembly area till the bailiff called my name and put me in a group with other potential jurors and then we were sent to court room D.  The judge made an introduction about the case and he made sure that we knew that the defendant had the right to a jury trial.  The prosecutor spoke first and then the lawyer for the defendant spoke to the jury duty panel.

It was a murder trial, where the defendant’s dead wife was found stuffed into a chimney and the jurors on this trial were to determine his guilt and also select a humane punishment that fit the crime.  Both lawyers asked questions about the potential jurors to determine if they were suited for this particular case.  The lawyers asked about our life experiences, and our generally beliefs about any issues in this case.  Their ultimate goal was to select a jury that would not be biased against this man, but also one that had respect for the law.  It was my turn to be questioned and the defense attorney asked me if I knew his client and I responded, “No sir and I am willing to listen to everything that you say, but only with a grudging acceptance, as I can clearly see that he is guilty.”  The lawyer seemed outraged and said, “How did you determine this?”  I replied, “That swastika tattoo on his forehead tells me that he is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.”

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Ultimate, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday, for FOWC with Fandango – Energy, for August Writing Prompts – Melted ice cream, for Sheryl’s A New Daily Post Word Prompt – Humane, for Ragtag Community – Respect, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 50 prompt – Maya Angelou Freedom, for Scotts Daily Prompt – Chimney and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Grudging.

16 thoughts on “Beyond Reasonable Doubt

  1. Amazingly insightful piece on unconscious bias. Today, I am doing a session on this topic, and your story will help. Thanks!

    The Nazi Swastika is also the reverse of Hindu Swastika. I hope a jury in some other part of the world does not hold this bias. 😀

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