Wednesday, June 1, 2011

52 Weeks to Personal Genealogy Secrets

Week 22. Secrets. Describe something about yourself that won’t be found on any record 100 years from now.

Well I have been thinking about this for a while, and last night the light bulb went on.
I have been called on jury duty five times, and this is on record, four times I actually served on a jury, but three times I was in Superior court and that has a record that will be around for at least 100 years. The fourth time I was in district court, and in Washington district court records are destroyed after five years, so lets describe that jury duty. It was actually the second time I was on jury duty, the first time was a 3rd degree rape trial and I was juror number 48 in a pool of 50 and ended up on the jury, so the second time I was pretty surprised when they lined up 15 of us and we went over to the district court. Now don't juries have 12 jurors and they only started with 15, wow looks like most of us will be on the jury. In the courtroom they introduced the judge, the lawyers and the defendant and a short summary of the case. It was for trespassing, a misdemeanor in Washington, so tried in district court, and they started jury selection, and then they picked SIX of us for the jury. District court uses six jurors. By 9:30 we were listening to testimony, first the prosecution. Seems the police was called to this house on the south hill of Spokane because of a fight in the front yard, when they arrived there was a crowd watching a man and woman fighting and they were drunk, so the police broke up the fight and ordered everyone to go home. Seems like that would be the end, but then the police went back to their car to write up the report, it was around the corner since all the parking along the street was full. The police heard what sounded like another fight, so back they went and here was the defendant on the porch banging on the door trying to get in, since they had ordered him to leave earlier they arrested him for trespassing. So the prosecutor rested and it was close to lunch time so we were on our own for an hour. I volunteered at the library about 6 blocks away and was used to the restaurants close to the library so I went down there and had lunch. After lunch the defense started and in true Perry Mason theatrics they brought in the defendants twin brother in the same clothes and asked the police if they could identify the defendant? Turned out the police could not tell the difference and neither could I, but that had nothing to do with the case. The two brothers had been classmates at Ferris High School with the owner of the house (actually he was renting the house, but considered the owner) and all of them were 20 years old now and out of high school, but still friends. The two brothers had arranged to stay with the owner for the weekend and had brought sleeping bags and clothing to stay the night. When the fight was going on there was about 30-35 kids that had been classmates at Ferris High School in the house. So now the defense concedes that the house was in Spokane county, and that would be important when the judge gave us the rules for trespassing. The defence called the owner of the house and he testified about how he had been a friend of the defendant through school and he was always welcome at his home, so the defense rested. That was about 2 pm, we then had the summation by both lawyers and the judge explained the law to us. The prosecution had to prove three things, 1. that the alleged crime happened in Spokane county; it did the defense had told us that; 2. That the defendant was not wanted on the property by the owner, and the defense had pretty well proved the defendant was his friend and always welcome, and 3. this was the person the police had arrested, still not sure they had the correct brother. So by 3 pm we were deliberating, and it was pretty clear the prosecution had not proved two the things the judge said were needed to convict the defendant. So what was really happening at the house?? Why would 30-35 20 year old kids be afraid of the police? Why did none of them want to testify for the defendant? I had no idea, but the other jurors had the answer. They figured the group in the house was having a beer party and all of the kids there were underage for alcohol, so when the police showed up they locked the door and tried to keep everyone out including the defendant who was banging on the door to get in. So the police were correct to arrest the defendant they had ordered to leave, but not for trespassing which was the what we had to decide on, so we voted not guilty. Kind of a waste of time, but we left the courtroom by 5:15 pm, a one day trial.
The reason I did not have an idea about the beer party is that for medical reasons I do not drink any alcohol, it messes up my blood sugar a lot, so I did not know about beer parties.

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