Packard Sonic’s Blog
From the mind of Packard Sonic. Buckle up for this ride!

Corruption behind the jury doors.

Part 1 Day One

I have been dealing with the courts in some way many times over the years, but this was the first time behind the “curtain of the jury wall” as it were.

As this was a 3-day trial I will break down things day by day.

Day 1. The Selection begins!

I arrived at the courthouse, I thought I was going to be late and parked in the near by ramp, so I had booked it over to the court house across the street, to find out that I wasn’t going to be late.  Well I am not one that likes to be late for anything, especially when it deals with the courts. You know that whole hurry up and wait thing they do.  They ask for mileage and gave me an estimate; I never really measured it out so I took what they said it was. (This will come in to play much later on)   I get shuffled down to the basement area along with several others. One thing I should mention here that on the website, it said “No electronic devices” Like cell phones and such allowed. Ok that’s fine, until as I was waiting down there with roughly about 27 other people. At taking a head count it was 7 women and 20 men. The odds were not that great as far as a women getting on the panel. Then I noticed that while I actually “Followed the rules” and left my cell phone locked up in my car, the women and one guy had pulled out their cell phones and were actively using them!  Well I felt like a total dolt for doing what I was told to do at that point! But I know I did the right thing. So I was ok with that. About 20 -30 minutes went by and not having my cell phone I became a little antsy at not having much to do, so I along with everyone else was watching the news on CNN. By then one of the bailiffs walked in and started telling us what was going to be happening and that we would all be watching a short video of what we were to expect to happen.  Some one asked how we got to be the lucky ones, and we were told that in the state of WI, they only use our ID’s from our drivers licenses and not by if we voted or not.

She then started the video and left the room. A judge came on the TV explaining how it was an honor to be on a jury trial and how they choose how you get picked and how she was chosen to be on a jury, but was dismissed due to the fact that she was a judge and really wanted to be on the panel. (I was thinking yea right)  Then the judge starts explaining that we are chosen by our driver’s licenses and voter registration! Now…. Wait… A… Minute! I was just told that they DON’T use voter registration information because it’s not as accurate as the Driver’s licenses. Ok I’m not even in the courtroom yet and already getting lied to??? So after this rather dull video, they said that all our names would be picked at random to line up out in the short hallway under the stairs! Before we were to head upstairs I asked one of the bailiffs if the jury had to take an oath. To which she replied yes they do. And I asked POINT blank, was it a “secular” oath, she replied I think so yes, so at this point I didn’t think to hard about it at that point.  They start calling off the names, and I end up being the second person in line! I told the lady behind me that when I was growing up, that number one or number two was nothing you really wanted to be! Trying to make light of the very strange situation we were all placed in at that moment. Now this area, was very small, to say the least.  But frankly I thought that we all had been tricked in to coming in were going to be arrested or worse SHOT! LOL Just kidding about that last two parts, but it did feel like that. The last time I remember lining up for anything like that was when I was in grade school!  So we start up stairs to the third floor. Now, I have asthma so climbing all those stairs was a little bit of a challenge for me but not impossible at least! So we go in to this tiny room and out to the courtroom and sit in some of the most uncomfortable chairs (bolted to the floor in one spot) I had been in, in quite some time! As the rest follow in, the juror box has enough room to fit 14 people init. Now I already know your next thought here… Aren’t there supposed to be just twelve of them? Well that turned out to be another interesting thing, but I will get back to that in a little while and you will get that answer.  Just before we got underway, we all had to take “the oath”! As it turned out it was NOT a secular oath! When everyone else said “I’ DO” I said” I don’t!” but only one person heard me that was the woman sitting just to my left. So things started to get on the way, by now we had been in there for over an hour.  As we all sat there the attorneys started asking a bunch of random (or seemingly random) questions about us. Now this was one of the things we were told was going to happen and we were not to be embarrassed over any of the questions in anyway, and over all they weren’t.  Some of the possible panel was down in front of the jury box and the rest were told to listen to the questions as they may have to get asked that if some one gets taken off the jury. (I wished it had been me!)  As the questions kept coming, one of the people in the front of the jury box said they knew the guy and he would not be impartial to deliberations on it and was excused. (I wish I had at that point too!)  So after a very lengthy process of questions we had to stand up when our names were called to see if we were going to be one of the “lucky ones” to stay. The first persons name to be called off… Would you like to take a guess?  If you said “You Packard!” You would be right! Oh joy! I guess this was payback for having a way out of the last two I got called up for! They kept telling us what an honor it was. I didn’t feel that way. But that was just me at that point.  The judge at that point, after weeding out the rest and dismissed them, we had to take a second oath!  Again it was NOT a secular oath! Again I objected, yet I was not heard by anyone.

Then we were dismissed back to the jury room for the moment, I then explained to the woman bailiff that up until that point was actually being nice to me, and treating me like anyone else. That was until; I told her that I wanted to take a more secular oath. She inquired, “Oh agnostic”?  I said no I am an Atheist. At that point the whole game changed!  She said she would ask the judge if I could take a different oath, and she would take care of it. The older guy I don’t remember his name, who was sitting across from the table from me exclaims, “You know, I case of emergency I could baptize you right now.” Ha, ha, ha.. To which I turned away and calmly said “No thank you!” Shortly there after we re entered the courtroom, and before the opening statement, the judge announced, “Someone on the jury requested an alternate oath.” Then called out my name and I then took the more secular oath! Me! I got a judge to listen to something I had to say about what happened in the courtroom for the first time EVER!

I have to say at that point I felt pretty good!  Then the guy who had said he could do an “emergency baptism” on me, who was now sitting directly on my right, said “I kind of felt uncomfortable about the whole mention of god too” Which I replied then why didn’t you stand up and take the oath too?”  He replied that he didn’t know I was going to do that other wise he might have. I have serious doubts that he would have, but I am not afraid to speak my mind or what I don’t believe in for that matter!

Then again called back in to the courtroom for opening statements and some testimony. Its never like it is on TV where things are always moving, and something is happening all the time. We had been shuffled many times during the day back and forth in and out of the courtroom; I was beginning to think we were fish on display for the people to see as we walked back and forth behind the glass!  At one point, the only woman juror, in which I will say, was nice looking, but as they say, beauty is only skin deep. She was very bossy on the inside and she wasn’t afraid to show it.  I think right there when she started demanding something, that I thought was unreasonable, and I called her on it I was already on her bad side.  Oh great, another woman that’s mad at me for being a guy, well isn’t that just dandy!

There were at this point 13 people on the jury. Yes, I did say 13! Not a typo! Now as I said before that there is supposed to be only 12 people on a jury, this is a known fact. So why was there 13 people on the jury at that point? Well as it was explained in open court, that if a juror got sick or something happened they would still at least have the 12 and could call up one of the alternates. However at the end of the trial, a name would be selected at random from a box with the name of someone to be excused just before deliberations would begin.

After the opening statements and just after the lunch hour finally the trial started, I had not been able to get enough sleep the night before as I was a bit wound up about possibly being on the jury and all that so at several points during the boring parts I think I blanked out a second or two here and there. So I would move around in my chair or do what ever I had to do to stay awake during this first part.   By the time the end of day arrived I was just glad to be out of there!

Part 2

Day 2 The Trial Continues!

This part will be kind of short…

After hearing the instructions from the judge the night before about being back at just after 8 am, I made sure I had plenty of time to get out the door so I could casually walk in the courthouse without feeling winded from climbing the stairs. I walked in and sat down, No one would sit next to the Atheist, nor wanted to converse with me except in only the smallest of talk her and there. On my way there I recalculated the mileage and let them know that I needed to give them a correction, well the lady bailiff there was again rather rude with me about it. When I gave her the updated information.  Then the guy that I had mentioned before came in almost too late and with his fly down! Oh this was NOT going to be a good day.  Before we went in to the courtroom again, the bailiff again had more instructions for us, and I very politely tried to tell that guy that his was zipper down, at some point he mentioned out loud again to everyone there, something about me being an Atheist, then commented how he was doing that to deflect that how he was almost to late for the jury. Already getting attacked and picked on for being different.  However, I have been the outcast many times… This was really no different to me as in the past, so it didn’t matter all that much now.

So court continued.. Now we start getting video testimony from a few doctors, and a few “expert” witnesses. One of which was a cop.  It turned out that this cop, was new to the job, and when I say “new” I mean he had NEVER EVER done an accident scene before and so he didn’t take pictures, didn’t take measurements, didn’t talk to all the witnesses, of which at least 2 other witnesses in the incident were left out that we never heard from! Only one person who saw it the collision only because the car that was hit was coming directly in to her lane! Oh if I forgot to mention it, this whole things was a twofer… One part of it was an accident case the typical who is at fault type thing; the other half of it was an insurance case in connection with it due to the accident.

Now we got shown over blown photos of what they saw and all that, and I had made some thoughts up of what I had gotten from what I had so far of the trial, but I wanted to take in as much information as I could before rendering a fair assessment of what I thought had happened. (Boy was I in for a shock! More on this later!)

Well as the day continued, and we entered the lunch hour, we were severed from a nearby restaurant. Now when it comes to food, I am NOT shy about what I like and don’t like.  I have to say that the meal was good, however we were allowed to leave for a short time after that and go for a walk or what ever after that. Which I did,. I talked briefly to one of the jurors outside about the weather and then he went his way and I went mine. Again I it was just small talk nothing to try to connect to someone else in any way, but turned out to be a totally fruitless conversation.

So back again to the court, and more deliberations and heard from the rest of the plaintiff.  That didn’t last very long and the defendant (whom was backed by an insurance company) started his testimony. A lot of what he said didn’t make any sense, at least not to me, but then again, I see past the BS that people say as I had seen it so many times before. But after that we saw one or two more videos then it was time to depart for the day.

Day 3

Part 3 The Trial Concludes!

Now before we were to go back to the courthouse we had some extra time that morning instead of being in right away we had an extra half hour to kill before we arrived. Now that woman bailiff was there and there was again the chatter between the bailiffs and the rest of the jurors was like it was that morning and other times, and I glanced up from the year old magazine I was looking at to ask, if the corrected mileage had been given to whom ever they were supposed to. Just trying to make or possibly start some small talk, again she was rude to me! At different points of the trial, we would shuffle in and we were told that we didn’t have to sit the exact same place as before if we didn’t want to, however I was on the end of the juror box and I could stretch out, so I opted for that same spot every time! LOL!  During the trial several different people set to my right and once or twice someone sat directly in front of me, but it didn’t matter after all, I got to relax a little.  The last portion was short at least and lasted just up until about 1 OPM so all in all about 5 hours of sitting in the same spot watching people blather on about how much they make $900 an hour or more! How these people get away with charging so much should be a crime! But that’s not what I was there for. The want to charge that much for their services, then who am I to say if someone is stupid enough to pay them. Something else that was weird they not only went to the far corners of the stare to obtain “expert witnesses” they even went down to the state below me of Illinois! So this is it appears why lawyers charge so much! So they get to travel on our money! Ok, sure it’s for whatever cause they are working for at that time, but still, did they not find someone in the area that can did the same job for less money?

Finally we get the closing arguments, Ohh at last! We will get some quick instructions and then off to eat lunch and start working this out… Oh… Yea that was NOT going to happen!  The closing arguments again, never like it is on TV short and resounding! Not one little bit! I can tell you now, the way the plaintiff’s lawyer handled himself, I would never hire him.  Every time the defense objected he never got to finish!  Most of the times, with I think an exception of possibly once, when the defendant objected he wasn’t allowed to continue. And every time and I do mean EVERY time he objected to the something the defendant said, the judge over ruled him and let the defendant continue! Even in closing remarks he cam back for a second time after the defendant said his closing remarks, he got overruled in that too! Not a very good lawyer!

Next came the closing words and instructions from the judge. He than began to read us the instructions of what we should follow, when we started our deliberations.  The “instructions” went on and on and on! I do mean for almost an hour!  This was again not the short stuff that you see on TV, If TV court cases were like that; they would NEVER make it past the pilot!

Before the deliberations are about to begin, the name 13th juror name was pulled out of a container.  I can’t say or speak for the others, but I had mixed emotions if I was the one to get picked out. If I had, I would have been wondering would they do the right thing? As the name was read, there just happened to be another juror that had the same first name as myself. I was thinking to myself for that split second, yep I knew it!  Then the last name was read and I was kind of relieved and yet upset I still had to be there! I guess deep down I wanted to see this to the end as I had come so far already. And really wanted to see it through and get to say what was on my mind!

Before we are ready to leave the courtroom the judge gives one last order, the bailiffs have to also take an oath! I mean I can understand the witnesses and all that but the bailiffs!?

At last we can get the deliberations started….

As I walk in and we are given yet more instructions, and the bailiffs aren’t even out the door yet to the outer room and the first words out of the mouth of the woman is  “Yep I know who is guilty! No need to even discuss it so this is going to be short!”

I have been biting my tongue for the last three days to get out what I want to say and “She has it all figured out!” The nerve! I start to say I don’t agree with her assessment and then is also laughs at me like yea so what do you have to say, then says “Besides it doesn’t matter anyway, you’re the only one that objects” After I got done eating my poorly excuse for a lunch (And chipping yet another front tooth!)  I began explaining why I thought the defendant was also at fault and my reasons why, and at one part of it she started getting nasty and when I got back at her about it, I get yelled at! I see… So I’m the only one of that group that gets dismissed? Oh yea that’s not right! I made my objections and they didn’t want to hear it. One guy was like whatever, just didn’t care about the whole thing and it was anarchy almost!  They appointed her foreperson and I didn’t even get to vote on it as I was in the bathroom at the time! They voted without me! I didn’t matter in there, and nothing I said made a difference what so ever!

The whole process was a total joke! I was outcast for being an Atheist, even though my arguments were sound and my objections were set aside because of a “pretty face” That’s not justice that’s a travesty of justice! The plaintiff was awarded some compensation, but if it had just been up to these few people that apparently thought that they will live forever and nothing bad happens to them, and They best hope that they are not in the plaintiffs position anytime soon, and have to await for a jury to decide their fait and cold and callous as they were o him!

Afterwards the judge came in to se us that stuck around and we got to ask a few questions, again the “Smart question” as the lady bailiff said about someone’s question which wasn’t really all that smart, again because she knew I was the Atheist and she already cast her opinions down on me.

If I ever get called again for something like this, maybe I will have the horse sense to pick up and “move to another county” the two weeks before hand then after the trial, “move back” LOL   Actually the trial itself was some what interesting, but the manipulation of a jury from a “pretty face “ is what brought the whole system down and I feel that there was a miscarriage of justice, and despite the fact I could have been the dissenter, I knew it wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

Justice was already lost…


7 Responses to “Corruption behind the jury doors.”

  1. So … didn’t it have to be a unanimous vote? I can’t believe they caved like that. I’m sure you felt like it was 3 wasted days! Maybe you should get the judge to read your blog. 🙂 AND the bailiff.

  2. That sounds like an awful three days! It’s sad that an institution that is supposed to be fair and unbiased is corrupt. It’s a shame that city employees such as the bailiff are rude esp when it is supposed to be an honor to serve on a jury! I’m also disgusted that the jury was manipulated like junior high school students by the lady with the pretty face & personality of a rabid shrew! I’m glad that u shared this with us & also that u made it thru this experience so that u don’t have to worry about serving on a jury for another few years. I always figured that all that stuff on Law & Order had to be embellished! Lol! I certainly do not look forward to serving on a jury when my turn comes around! Lol!

  3. I am sorry for your experience. It seems like everyone has a story of this kind. It feels like such a waste of energy in so many ways. I am glad you made a positive out it by sharing your experience with others!

  4. Sounds like three days of hell, really. It seems like whether religious or not, the minority is always outcast, and their opinions are dismissed.

    As for the jury decision and handling of the sorts… sounds like typical Central Wisconsin mentality, which is one of the things I hate most about the area.

  5. Packard, we’ve all had similar experiences. You were lucky you didn’t have to endure the lousy lawyering of county or state prosecutors. One jury I was on we all knew the defendant was guilty, but the prosecution & presentation was so bad we had to vote not guilty. Did I tell you that was the OJ case? Just kidding.

    You should check out the two versions of 12 Angry Men. Great films. You could write your own script called 1 Angry Atheist. LOL Seriously, Thanks for taking me back to my own frustrating experiences on jury duty. Next time you get callled tell them you’ll be out of town or have a chiropractor write you a note saying you can’t sit due to back pain…like a pain in the ass. Mike

  6. gonna send this to my mom

  7. Interesting about the 13th jury member. Is that in every state? Here in Scotland a jury is 15.

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