How did you feel when you received your jury summons?
My first reaction to receiving the summons was a feeling of inconvenience; how I would have to miss work and sit in a room all day with people I didn’t know. I had received a summons before and did not have to serve on a jury. I was hoping it would be the same again this time. It wasn’t.
What was it like and what were you thinking when you went to court on the morning of jury selection?
The day I had to appear, I had made it all the way to the lunch break without having my panel number picked. We were then released for lunch for 1.5 hours. I was hoping that no more panels would be picked after lunch. Upon my return, my panel number was chosen and I was one of the jurors chosen for voir dire. In the first round, I was chosen as a backup juror. I still had some hope that I would not be picked. The day was long. Eventually, I was chosen to be one of the final 12 to serve on the jury. A few things that went through my mind was waiting to see how long the trial would last, having to call my employer and advising them I would be out of the office, having to make arrangements for my children to be picked up after school. We were later told the trial would only take one day.
What did you think of how the jury selection process was conducted (i.e., comments about lawyer questioning, etc.)?
We filled out the form that all potential jurors are given. The judge then asked us to introduce ourselves; where we lived, what our interests were, if we owned or rented our home. Neither the plaintiff or defense attorneys asked me questions. There was no objection from either side and I was selected as a juror.
What were your thoughts when you were picked?
I was overwhelmed and nervous to know that I would have a say in a person’s fate.
Did the jury look representative of Cook County? Why or why not?
In my opinion, it did. It was both men and women, and there were a few different ethnicities.
Tell us briefly what the case was about.
Two years ago, a young man in his early 20s was sitting in a parked car with his sister. They were both sitting in the back seat. A police officer was patrolling the area and noticed that the car was oddly parked and had no plates. The officer approached the car, asked for the young man to get out of the car. The young man repeatedly asked what he had done and why the officer was asking him to get out of the car. The young man became nervous, scared, and, according to the officer, elbowed him, and ran away. At that point, the officer Tased him, the young man went down, but then got up, “removed” the Taser and ran away. The officer couldn’t catch him. He then turned himself in two days later. He was charged with battery and resisting arrest.
How was foreperson elected?
He volunteered after no one wanted to do it.
What were the deliberations like?
We went over the instructions from the judge and law and used that to make the best decision of guilty or not guilty.
How did the group handle disagreements, if any?
In this case, there were no disagreements.
What was the ultimate verdict?
Not guilty on battery. Guilty on resisting arrest.
How did you feel about serving after you actually served on this case?
After the whole thing was over, I was glad to have been part of the process. I was relieved that it was a simple case. It helped that there was video to help make a decision. If it were a more complicated case, I would have had more of a hard time being responsible for someone’s fate.