Monosyllabic Pedantry

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Not Guilty

Jury Duty is over. I find it amazing that I got selected, but I did; one of 12 out of about 60. Ha Ha, all you bleeding heart liberals assumed I'd convict anyone, didn't you? Be honest, you did.

Honestly, I kept waiting for the state to prove its case and she never did. Here's the story.

A cop is working as a safety officer for an apartment complex.
At 1AM, he comes to the office to check and lock it down for the night. He is supposed to do this at 10pm, but he had to work late.
When he goes to set the alarm, the panel tells him that one of the zones is activated. There's no time stamp on when the alarm began being activated. It could have been that way for hours.
He goes downstairs to investigate.
Downstairs, there is a circular hallway that connects to the pool, the fitness center, the bathrooms, and the computer center. The computer center door is the only one that is kept locked. The other doors are left open to the residents until 10pm (when he is supposed to lock them, so tonight they're open until 1)
The cop sees the suspect exiting through the door to the pool. He detains him and goes back to check the computer room. He finds that the lock has been pried apart, the handle hanging from the door. There are pry marks on the door frame where the additional deadbolt has been pried apart.
The suspect has no tools on him. There are no tools found in the vicinity.
Nothing has been stolen from the computer room. The only thing out of place is a keyboard, which was placed on the monitor.
The suspect is a 17 year old (18 at the time of trial) black kid. He and his mother live in the complex.
The charge is burglary, a felony.
The suspect says he was "hanging out" and was meeting his girlfriend out in front of the office. His girlfriend is waiting in a car outside of the complex. His mother corroborates this story.
The cop said the kid told him that he had been in the computer center, but it wasn't refuted by anybody, and it seemed too likely that he asked "Were you in there?" and the kid said yes. He could have meant in the building, in the hallway, etc.
To me, there were just way too many possible scenarios and no real proof. Maybe the kid was in there to go to the bathroom before meeting his girlfriend.
The hours of unmonitored access, coupled with the pry marks and absence of tools were too much to not have tons of reasonable doubt. Before I go saddling an 18 year old with a felony charge, I've gotta be damn sure he did it.
For burglary, you have to be in the building with the intent of stealing something. It just wasn't there.

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  • Me, on the other hand, served as foreman of a jury that sent a 22-year-old to prison for a minimum of 25 years for 2d degree manslaughter. It's a long and involved story wherein a group of overgrown kids go to a 16th birthday party and get out the guns to pretend that they're gansta n shit, leave them on the table (where the 11-year-olds play with them all night), go out dancing, get cold on the walk home, steal an acquaintance's car to drive home (but leave the keys in the seat because they think of it more a a prank), get into a fight with the guy that comes to retrieve his car, and wind up shooting the guy who had the car stolen. Since the shooter had to go back inside to get the gun off the table, I thought that demonstrated prior intent and since he shot a rifle with a night scope at the head of the victim, I thought that was probably good evidence that he intended to kill him deader than four o'clock (even if he just wound up gutshotting him and the victim later bled to death in a snowbank). The rest of the jury put a more generous construction on things and interpreted it as a heat of the moment mistake.

    Our prosecutor sucked and the cop was the least reliable witness. Considering the parade of drug dealers, carjackers, and jumpsuit-wearing psychopaths that we heard, that's saying something.

    By Blogger Bridgett, at 5:30 AM  

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