I've learned a lot in the two days this week. Not the least of which is just how safe it is to be a juror in a criminal case in the city of St. Louis.
First of all, the STL Sheriff's Department rox. I know one of you are probably reading this thanks to Facebook. I have no problems with the Sheriff's Department. It's the Jury Supervisor that I think is to blame here.
So this kid was the victim of circumstance. But then again, he put himself in that circumstance to begin with, so really it was of his own doing.
In the end he was found guilty. I guess he was to appear later for sentencing, but he went home after the trial instead of to jail.
And this was good. Most members of the jury really felt for this kid. Never been convicted of anything, etc. (of course we found out later that he had 10 prior arrests with no convictions) Given the circumstances I kinda felt like this kid shouldn't have the book thrown at him. And I wasn't alone in this thinking.
So anyway after the trial we, the jury, walked out of the court room. In front of us was this kid visibly upset. "How the hell did I get myself into this?" kinda upset, not "let's go kill a juror" kinda upset.
We all stopped and let him get on the elevator before us. We took the next ride.
Then there he was with his family on the court steps. We had to walk right past the kid that we just found guilty of this particular crime.
We had to walk the several blocks, unescorted, to the Kiel garage at 15th & Clark. Alone.
And by alone, once you get to 15th and Market, you're alone. Nobody around to see anything that could happen to you.
And apparently it's this way for the witnesses as well.
Fortunately this kid viewed the jury as robots instead of blaming us individuals for his upcoming sentence. But the circumstances could have been very different.
I learned a lot in the last couple of days. The biggest lesson was that if I'm ever a potential criminal juror for the City of St. Louis, I'm going to express my concerns to the court in front of the judge, attorneys, and defendant, and let them decide if they want me to be a juror.