Thomas Ross Hallock

Jury Duty

Today I was selected to be a juror on a criminal case in New York City. I can’t say much more than that at the moment. I’ve never been a juror and have found the whole process enlightening. I am missing some important days at work as we are right on the verge of releasing a new website feature. I find this circumstance a bit frustrating, but I’m still going to give this my full attention and be the best and fairest juror I can be. When the trial is over, I’ll post more.

Immediately after my jury duty is complete, I have a trial of my own at NYC housing court defending my lease at 310 W. 47th Street against my landlord’s holdover petition aimed at evicting me upon false grounds. I’ll probably do a write-up on this soon as well; it is a long and funny story.

UPDATE: 19-Aug-2012

Jury duty lasted just three days; it was over by the afternoon of 30-March. The trial was for a kid who was accused of :

  1. carrying a firearm
  2. intent to use a firearm
  3. possessing a stolen credit card

We found him guilty on all three accounts. I held up the jury a bit because I wasn’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he possessed the firearm. His defense made the case that he was framed by the police that had originally patted him down and found nothing. On the second pat-down they found the firearm underneath his rotting, smelly colostomy bag. The defense’s explanation was that the firearm was dropped by one of the defendant’s accomplices who fled the police after him and three others were stopped for questioning, then the firearm was then planted on the defendant. That seemed like a possible scenario, but there was no conclusive evidence suggesting that is what happened. My decision came down to the definition of “reasonable doubt,” which I had to stretch a bit. Nobody else on the jury seemed to struggle with this issue, which I found a little disturbing. It was interesting to have a debate over this sort of an issue with a very well-rounded cross section of the population with whom I would otherwise never have had this sort of interaction. I do feel bad for causing the judge to sentence this kid to at least several years in prison. Well, I did my civic duty, that’s what counts, I suppose.

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