In Friday’s mail I got my first ever summons to show for jury duty. Immediately I had two opposing reactions. On the one hand, I was a bit excited. I’ve always taken an interest in the forensic psychology and its relationship to our legal system. How do juries really work deciding guilt/innocence? How do guilty folk defend and use their legal right to make it look like they are innocent. On the other hand, I was feeling like I couldn’t take time out of the Fall to do this. I have classes to teach…
Here’s a question: Can I be an unbiased juror? I work with victims of abuse, victims of crimes. Does that bias me against those accused of the same? Would I tend to believe the testimony of a police officer solely because of his position? (Actually, I was asked this question and the reverse as well). If a person didn’t take the stand in their own defense or even present a defense, would I hold that against them?
On these last two questions, I had to really consider my answer. I guess I do tend to believe the police are telling the truth. I haven’t had an officer twist my words, accuse me falsely, plant evidence, stop me because of my race, etc. Part of me does believe that officers don’t have reasons to lie. Also, would an innocent person refuse to take the stand in their own defense. I know attournies might recommend this so that the person won’t be cross-examined in order to avoid other embarrassing information. But, I guess I do tend to believe that people ought to be willing to say what happened.
I decided to put aside my beliefs and say that I won’t overestimate an officer’s testimony and that I won’t hold it against a defendant if they do not testify.
Now I have to wait to see if I get chosen or rejected. Which one will be the winning ticket?