As I mentioned in last nightís blog entry, I finished the latest round of jury duty yesterday afternoon. After all was said and done, the judge reminded us we could talk about the case so here we are.
The case was a criminal case involving three charges: reckless driving, driving with the slightest impairment, and a blood alcohol level exceeding .08. Unfortunately for the prosecution, there were a lot of gaps or loop holes in the police procedures. For the reckless driving, it was demonstrated the defendant maintained proper lane changing, turn signals, etc. for the entire time. The police maintained the defendant was speeding but at no time was RADAR, LIDAR, or other speed measuring devices used.
For the impairment charge, the police conducted the usual tests for these sorts of things, heel to toe walking, the one leg standing test, and eye acuity tests. The officer conducting the tests reported his body cam was broken and he had not received a replacement, so we watched video taken from a body cam on another officer across the parking lot from the tests. From what we could see, the defendant did well but not perfectly on the tests. There were no reports of stumbling or staggering or slurring. Why the officer conducting the tests didnít ask for a peer to come over with his body cam is beyond me, but he didnít. What we could see on the video was that the defendant was not turned away from the flashing lights nor were the flashing lights turned off, which would seem to negate the accuracy of the visual test.
When it came to the blood alcohol levels, there were some ďblipsĒ in the data. A third party expert purported this could be alcohol from a previous run in the machine, the technician said it could be electrical noise.
The defendant selected a great lawyer and she was relentless. If Iím ever in a similar situation I will be calling her. The prosecuting attorney was calm and rational.
Deliberations last about 70 minutes. The jury decided not guilty on all three charges, all because of reasonable doubt. There were just too many variables to make a concrete decision and in America, innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and we had reasonable doubt.
It was an interesting case and of course the experience made me do a complete 180 on my feelings about doing jury duty again. Of course I got selected as jury foreman, and everyone on the jury was pleasant to work with.
All in all a rewarding experience. Iím off the hook for two years for doing it again.