Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walk Away Rene

A few weeks ago I was on a commercial shoot. And as is customary, the crew and the agency people exchanged stories. There's nothing else to do between lighting set-ups.

In any case, the director was sharing his experience with the NY judicial system and said he had just come off jury duty.

As one might imagine, a courtroom in Queens, NY can be quite theatrical. But given his druthers, the director would just as soon pass the next time he got called.

I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed the jury experience.

I won't bore you with all the details. We've all been through the grueling selection process and watched countless potential jurors lie or fake their way out jury duty. I did no such thing. I answered the questions truthfully, articulately and objectively. And found myself sitting in the special seat reserved for Juror #5.

The District Attorney opened the case with his trump card.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for graciously agreeing to serve on the panel. Now I'd like you to watch this video."

And with that he hit the play button on his laptop and we all watched a 7-11 Security Cam, in surprising HD, capture the suspect robbing the store and threatening the Pakistani owner with a screwdriver. It was so open and shut that when he shut his laptop he literally announced: The prosecution rests.

Had it been an episode of Law and Order, the show would have been over before the first commercial break.

We convicted the man in less than 45 minutes. As we were leaving the courtroom I was chatting with an older African American woman who was also on the jury. I wondered why the man chose to contest such a slam dunk case. She knew exactly why. He was a two-striker. If he pled guilty he'd definitely get put away for life, so the only option he had was to take his chances with 12 of his peers.

Did I feel bad about sending a man away for the rest of his life for stealing $54? Not really, particularly when I found out about his past misdeeds.

I hope there's a green envelope in the mail today.


Ellen November said...

Thanks for my morning laugh. The look on that guy's face! What you talkin' about Willis? What me worry? Who me?
The last time I was on a panel, the judge asked if any of us thought that the police always tell the truth. I shouted out NO! They are human! I was shortly thereafter asked to leave. AWESOME!!!

Berk said...

Where did he get the screwdriver? Was the tool part of the $54 booty? Details man, details!