- Phil Berquist
This week has been full of firsts for me. It was my first time to report to jury duty, first shot at using public transportation, first time attempting to navigate downtown by myself and first real-life courtroom experience. Now don't get me wrong, I have watched countless trials in my life. I've seen drug dealers put away, predators taken off the streets and dangerous criminals locked up indefinitely. The only difference is, all the ones I watched previously were on TV or in movies (mostly Law & Order S.V.U., if we're being honest).
Deep in my heart of hearts I have always had a taste for justice. I long to see bad guys punished for their wrongs and justice executed to the fullest extent of the law (the Lord has used this desire to completely wreck me and my understanding of grace, btw). So, as you can imagine, this week I was a teensy bit excited to get to be a part of the justice system. I hated the idea of commuting downtown, but I was eager to experience the process and bring scumbags to justice! I tried to play it cool during the questioning... mainly I tried to leave out my thirst for justice and overwhelming experience as an investigator (read: law & order addict). While some aspects of this experience were exactly what I imagined, other parts were new and (somewhat) disappointing. As the lawyers began questioning us during voir dire, it became clear that being charming and relatable was just as important as the questions themselves. The first lawyer up was all smiles. He thanked the jury profusely and made sure to make everyone feel important when they were giving their answers. The second lawyer started out just as charming as the first, but was quickly put in his place by the judge when he started to get a little too chatty about the case... there were warnings and objections and everything! Unfortunately, at the end of voir dire I was not selected to be on the jury. In fact, they didn't select anyone from my side of the room because the first side had more than enough candidates. C'est la vie. Maybe next time I'll get the chance to experience all the ins-and-outs of the actual trial. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to S.V.U. reruns, where the bad guys always lose and the good guys always look fabulous in the pursuit of justice!
Sidenote: The coolest part of this whole process was finding out that there is a "white noise button" that the judge presses every time the attorneys approach the bench. I always wondered how the rest of the courtroom didn't hear those discussions!