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Impressions from the Grand Jury room

Wow. That was...really dull.

Almost exactly a year ago, someone climbed in through my kitchen window during the workday and stole some stuff. The police came, got a good solid handprint off the kitchen windowsill, and eventually made an arrest.

Today was the grand jury, where I was subpoenaed to testify that I'm the victim of a crime and that there's something to prosecute.

Let me tell you, it is NOTHING like on TV. I entered a dowdy little 8th-floor room with plastic chairs and sad carpet. The arresting officer introduced himself, and in the chit-chat that ensued, he told me a surprising amount about the guy he arrested. Drugs weren't an issue in this case, he said; just plain poverty and young men's desire for stuff and the money to buy it.

Of dozens of this guy's victims, I was the only one testifying because my house was the only one where a clear print was lifted, making mine the only charge the guy pleaded guilty to.

I swore to God (it wasn't worth the trouble to make the atheist argument) and answered three or four questions about the burglary--did I know the guy and had I ever let him into my house? (no, and no.) How did I know I'd been robbed? (Interesting question, when you think about it.) What was taken? (Computer, camera, cash, jewelry.) Did I call the police? (Yes.)

And that was it. Thank you very much. We'll subpoena you again when the trial begins.

So that's that. And I have tomorrow off! Yay!


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
Cheery Flowers :)
I'm glad that this is over and done with! That must be such a relief. Good that the person left a handprint so he got caught.

I hope you can do something really nice for yourself tomorrow!
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: Cheery Flowers :)
I have plans to take my bike in for some TLC, and meet a dear friend at the bike shop, from which we will proceed to a gluten-free bakery that both of us are interested in trying. This friend and I always talk about healing; we call ourselves "healing junkies" and our conversations are always uplifting.

Then later, dinner with another friend in a beautiful part of town, necessitating a bike ride that I haven't taken before. So yes, it will be a fantastic day!
Jun. 25th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you have a good day planned; hope the rain holds off!

About mature etc.: you are just a few years older than me. Yes, age thankfully brings some wisdom, but some people, such as yourself, are more reflective and less reactive. I admire that.
Jun. 25th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
Well thank you!
Jun. 25th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
I had to testify at a grand jury indictment about a kid who'd broken in while I was in the shower. Somewhat more exciting, semi-pretty room, jurors that looked horrified as I recounted the events (actually sounding more horrific than they were; I scared the shit out of the kid when I screamed, he'd thought no one was home).

Anyway, bring it up because of one similarity. Spent a few minutes while waiting talking to the arresting officer. He also told me about the kids background -- foster homes, unhappiness, alcoholism -- I ended up feeling sad for him. Bizarreness.
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Oh, very interesting! (And scary crime to have to testify about.) It's not a scene I've ever noticed being dramatized in tv shows about cops and lawyers. This detective told similar stories about some of the burglar-guy's cronies, and I really don't know what to think. I hear the underlying complexities of a class-and-race-based social structure, the inequities and hardships as set against my privilege, etc., etc., and pretty soon I'm guilting myself right into that "soft on crime" stance that conservatives like to accuse liberals of.

The cop, on the other hand, was pretty much no shades of gray--which I guess is a good trait in a cop. And to give him his due, he's very tied in to my neighborhood, and he seemed genuinely motivated by the ideal of peaceful, safe community life.

All in all, an educational hour.
Jun. 25th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)
But see, now you have to turn it into an exciting AU about justice and one brave woman's fight to right wrongs....
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:38 am (UTC)
I'm so lost to all rightness that my mind goes immediately to "Jensen is a homeowner, Jared is a down-on-his-luck neighborhood kid who turns to petty burglary..."

I'm sure it's been done. :D
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
What can I give you to write it!!!!!!!!!????

*koff, fans self* Sorry....
Jun. 25th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)

I'm busy trying to finish this other little piece that I've got going, but as soon as that's done, you never know. I might have another AU in me.
Jun. 25th, 2010 07:14 am (UTC)
And we'll be getting an update of that other little piece very soon, YYYY/YYYY?

Jun. 25th, 2010 07:17 am (UTC)
Just about to send chapter 33 to my wonderful beta.
Jun. 25th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
Omg be still my heart!
Jun. 25th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC)
I know exactly what you felt. That one time I was subpoenaed to testify, I was stressed out for days on end and I was cold all over when they called me, they asked me a few questions and when they finished, I was like, that's it?

At least you now know what to expect the next time around!
Jun. 25th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
I'm learning from several people that yeah, grand jury witness appearances are all just dull. I'm more relieved than disappointed, but I was kind of hoping to have a story to tell.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, there was. I didn't mention it because it flew by so fast. There were six citizens in a tiny room, and I took an oath and sat in an ugly bright-blue office chair in front of them. They took notes while the District Attorney asked the four or five questions.

I think their job is to serve for a week or two, hear these kinds of testimony, and make some decisions about whether a crime was committed and a person needs to be tried for it. Comparing notes with a few others who have been in my situation, I find that the questions are very similar, and attempt to establish that the witness has actually been the victim of a crime.

It seems to be a sort of intermediate filter between the police work and the criminal trial.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 25th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for that explanation. I watched one episode of "Law and Order UK" and heard the narrator talk about the Crown court, but your explanation is much better.

One thing the two systems do seem to have in common is that the jury (the un-Grand one) consists of twelve people--and the fact that trial by jury is the standard.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 26th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I agree that juries are the last bastion of actual justice, even though I know that in big, important trials, jury selection can be gamed a little by the lawyers.

And yes, I will have to be a witness at the trial. Not sure how I feel about that.

I'm struck by your statement that burglary wouldn't be considered petty. Of course, it shouldn't be, but it has felt like it to me. It makes me wonder how inured I (and perhaps all Americans?) have become to crime. "I didn't even bother reporting it" is a pretty standard attitude about smaller property crimes.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 27th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
so burglary is much more serious than, say, stealing a car, even if the car is worth more than any property taken from the house.

That makes so much sense and is so "civilized" if I can apply such a term. I think here it's all about monetary value of property stolen, so that "grand theft auto" trumps burglary--though breaking and entering to DO the burglary is a pretty serious thing.

I suppose I'll be learning more in a few weeks--more than I ever wanted to know, really, but it's somehow heartening that the justice system still trundles along in its slow and conscientious fashion.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 25th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
No, no villain. I was kind of afraid of that, but as I understand it (and I really don't), the Grand Jury's job is to insure that where the police have referred a criminal, a specific crime has actually been committed and that there's a victim.

As to the raccoons, all it takes is sunset and some cat food. Creepy giant furry rats with hands.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )



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