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Priming and the justice system

March 30, 2011

You may have been wondering why it's been so quiet at Haus Tech lately and the answer is I was called in to do my civic duty as a juror. Due to being boring and having no strong opinions on anything they asked I was unfortunately selected to jury service. Four days later I feel I've aged by years. What began as the most boring multi-day episode of Cops ever ended as very angry and frustrated people arguing, patronizing each other, belittling and badgering the minority which was unfortunately where I found myself.
 
But before all that began I noticed how despite the admonition that an individual is innocent until proven guilty there's a lot going against that individual. The "defendant" doesn't sound particularly encouraging when he's up against "the people". The amount of authority we are willing to grant our police officers also seems boundless. Some of the other jurors felt that a police officer's opinion or viewpoint should be paramount and that because we were all "not on the ground" we shouldn't have an opinion contrary to that. Which of course made me ask the question of why we had a justice system at all if we were going to allow our police officers to be judge and jury as well as enforcer. Sympathizing with the cop or feeling that the cop should be vindicated in their actions led people to side against the defendant rather than be able to separate the two as a difference between an action taken on site or actually feeling a conviction was appropriate. I know I felt badgered and abused, and myself and another minority member had already withdrawn and were no longer able to articulate our viewpoints by the end of the discussion and I wonder how many times someone is convicted because the majority feel a police officer's word or opinion is law and use anger and insults to get the other side to submit to just have it over with. In the end we were a hung jury which I'm sure was a great disappointment to the majority who were surprised we could not come to conclusion by which they meant the minority didn't come around. They were able to see their viewpoint as "fact" whereas the opposing was just "opinion" and felt that because they were in the majority the burden of proof was on the minority rather than on them or the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Several of them opined how sad they were that there were people in this country who felt a police officer's word did not always have to be obeyed and felt we the minority were destroying the criminal justice system. I felt sad that they seemed to have forgotten what the purpose of a justice system was.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 5:45 pm

    The system works because of you.

  2. March 30, 2011 10:44 pm

    Hugs. jc

  3. April 1, 2011 7:56 pm

    that sucks. I'm happy I'm not eligable for jury duty in US… then again, where i live they would not put me in there since they seem to remove anyone with degrees (more prejudice from me – need to work on that)

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