Friday, December 05, 2008

One Day Down

Sorry not to have posted anything yesterday while at jury duty, but, while they have wifi and work spaces for you to sit down with your computer, they actually block this blog (any sites using Blogger) at the New York State Supreme Court. So, I wasn't even able to blog while sitting for hours in the jury pool.

I finished one full day and the requirement is two full days (so no live show again today). I already got excused from one case, a drug case where the poor guy was representing himself. He's charged with selling what is a small amount of cocaine and the only witnesses in the case are undercover cops. I told the judge that I talk about these issues all day on the radio, have very strong views, am a gay activist, and as such have for a long time had very strong views about police brutality, police surveillance and undercover police.

She excused me right away. All of what I said of course is true --I was once even beaten up by police at a protest -- but I wondered if it should have excused me or if the defendant should actually have someone like me on the jury. I think you all know that I can be impartial when I need to be, and we have certainly debated many issues on the show where I maintained objectivity so that we could have a good discussion. I guess I could have downplayed it -- she did ask if I had any issues -- but instead I put it all out there.

The dilemma for me is that I just do not believe in this kind of drug enforcement, and I'm sure the sentence would be high, and though they will tell you to narrowly focus on whether he committed the crime or not (and not take the sentence into consideration) I just don't see it as a crime that should be prosecuted. The guy was not a major supplier or dealer, and looked like he was doing a favor for some friends (who turned out to be cops). Many people use recreational drugs and I have no issue with that, and certainly don't think they should be arrested and convicted. So I'd really be in a difficult position, deciding whether or not he was guilty of a crime he should not have been charged with. I'd probably opt for letting him off even if he was guilty, and I'm sure I'd be at loggerheads with people on the jury. Not to mention that I just cannot believe a bunch of undercover police, with no other witnesses. So I decided to just tell the judge my thoughts.

Okay, heading off to day two.