Jury Duty: Or Why Friday Sucked for Me

Dear Mr Prosecutor,

I’m sorry we had to rule ‘not guilty’ over the drug dealing charge on Friday.  I know we all hated to do that, not only to you, but to the community.  Why? Because he’s a dealer. You just failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was dealing the day he was arrested.  Where did you go wrong?

1. He is an admitted addict. He has a four prosecutions of drug possession and three past dealing convictions. Sadly, we could not use that to say he was a dealer. We could only use it to judge whether or not his testimony was truthful. Yes, they found drugs in his car. What you didn’t do was prove to us that it was not for his personal use. They were all over this one. They repeatedly said it was for his use. With you silent with your side of the case, we weren’t sure if you were ignoring that comment or felt there was no use in addressing it. This left a lot of doubt in people’s minds. You never used your witnesses to prove this “personal use” claim wrong. So, we really weren’t sure what to think.

2. You didn’t align the evidence enough. While circumstantial evidence is usable, your lack of connecting the dots or getting your witnesses to connect the dots given their expertise in this area forced us to guess at the case you were trying to make. For example, there was a brief mention that drug dealers tend to have two phones. Yet, you don’t ever bring up the fact they found two cell phones (a crap phone and a good phone) in the car. One of your witnesses mentioned it while he read the inventory of what they found in his car, but that’s it. Your witness mentions it is common practice nowadays to rent a car to deal out of so that it is harder to trace back to one person. He has a rental. He says it is because his car is in the shop. No mention of whether or not that is true. I mean, pretty easy to check on that situation, isn’t it? So, we had all of this “evidence” but the lack of mentioning it made us wonder if it is was even worth considering. 

3. The law for dealing drugs says that he had the intent for delivery on the day he was arrested. There was no solid evidence that this was what had happened. The police saw what may or may not have been a drug transaction. But there were no drugs. No money exchanged. Just a guy who ran from the police, acted weird, had a rental car, and had drugs in his car. This made the discussion around “without a reasonable doubt” very difficult. We had doubt about what was happening THAT day. You just didn’t have the evidence for it….sadly.

I did feel sorry for you though. You ended up with a jury that was a bit different than I think you had hoped for. Maybe you weren’t sure of what to expect given most of the potential jurers felt that the system was inequitable against the non-white accused. That sidebar debate did create a situation where there were few to choose after many expressed the same belief. But, then again, I think that you were assuming they would go after the race card in the case. They didn’t. You ended up instead with a group of people who seemed to have done a lot of drugs  – enough to think that over 6grams of coke in his possession was, indeed, enough for personal use.  Or that he, indeed, got a deal for buying coke in bulk – just like Walmart. Sure it was packaged in saleable sizes, but still.  When the jurers were in college, they got the same deal.  (Yes, this was an actual comment made by more than two people.)

So, in the end, we found him guilty on four of the five charges. Our hope is that next time, you have a better case against him. We are pretty sure he will do this again. I mean, maybe the 5th time will be a charm. Please nail his ass next time.  I know it pained me to let that fucker go. I mean, I spent several months working with police to get rid of the drug dealing in our neighborhood. It kills me that we released one back into the community. Don’t put someone in that position again, okay? 

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Secretia says:

    Real life more interesting than a tv program. You guys followed the law, I respect that. This post proves your own merit!

    Secretia

  2. Good job following the rules. Perhaps you should send a note to the prosecuting attorney so they don’t screw up again.

  3. Hubman says:

    Guilty on 4 of 5 charges but let go? Were they misdemeanors that he as found guilty of?

  4. What a bunch of crap! If it were you or me we would have had the book thrown at us.

  5. You guys did a great job with what you had and didn’t have.

    I hope they nail him the next time around!

  6. Ms Scarlett says:

    Sometimes, these prosecutors need to get out of their own way, don’t they?

    It sounds like a frustrating day… it would pain me to have to let him off too…

  7. Emmy says:

    Secretia – Real life IS different than TV….another issue we ran into with deliberations. Too many people watching too much CSI and Perry Mason created unrealistic expectations.

    ASM – I have seriously contemplated it.

    Hubman – The other charges won’t keep him off the streets very long sadly. plus Oregon doesn’t have a 3-strikes law which is clear given this is #4 drug dealing charge.

    KittyKillKill – I guess I now know a good defense attorney.

    TheDirtySide – It’s what I keep reminding myself.

    MsScarlett – The jury discussion also frustrated the hell out of me. Too many people believing they are right and totally disregarding others opinions. Not a fun 6hrs on Friday.

  8. how annoying.

    there is a dealer in the building here and it annoys me to no end. i wont involve myself really because he son lives with her who was arrested more than once for violence (once shooting someone outside here ugh) so .. well.. our safety is more important.

    when we got a new office manager for the building i thought maybe something would get done. the old guy never cared about anything. but i thought this one for sure would. was i ever wrong. she found out about the dealing and went up there alright, to get deals on pot and smoke when she is on break or off early *rolls eyes*

    go team justice!

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