Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Jury Duty
Joel and I both were called to be in the jury pool at the same time, so we have been calling in every Monday to see if our particular panel needed to report. I was told to report to the court house today by 8:30am and was selected to move into the jury "box" for questioning by the prosecutor and the defendant's lawyer. This was a domestic abuse criminal trial so questions leaned in that direction as twenty-one of us tried to answer openly and honestly what was presented to us.
Secretly I was hoping to not be chosen since I head back in tomorrow for the second laser surgery on my eye and I did not want to rearrange that appointment. I need not have worried.
Here is how the questioning went......."Does anyone know a family member or friend or have you yourself experienced domestic violence/assault? I was one of two who raised their hands, having had two family members that I know of who have experienced domestic assault.
Another question was, "Have any of you ever had any positive or negative experiences with the police?" Thinking only of our local police, I raised my hand, responding when asked to explain about a suspect the police were chasing who hid in the attic of our garage. After the police left the area I spotted him leaving our garage. Two days later he came back with his friends to intimidate me into not identifying him. Needless to say, the police we involved.
Then this question came up......"Does anyone have a family member who is a police officer?" Once again my hand went up! Our son is a police officer. I was further questioned on whether this would influence my verdict in this case. I said no, but when we were asked if any "Joe off the street was a witness and contradicted what the police witness was saying, would I tend to believe the police. I truthfully had to ponder that, since I have a deep respect for the police. It led further into what would make a police officer a credible witness.
Soon another question came to light...."Has anyone experienced violence personally? I asked for clarification Domestic assault only? No, any kind of assault or violence. My response was another question......" Well is it considered assault when someone threatens to kill your husband, the police have to come in your home to defend and protect you, and the threats continue for a long time....." I was told that they would consider that an assault. Okay, then. I raised my hand.
Then came the question, "Have you ever seen anyone assaulted? Good grief! I raised my hand one more time. Seriously I was getting embarrassed......I told how my son and I observed a man beating up his wife in a vehicle in front of our home which was also the church parking lot. I then said, "Wow, your questions are bringing up all these memories!" I then explained that my husband was a pastor and these kind of things just happened. Didn't they? (I did not even share all the times we have had to call the police)
Then, (I am not kidding) the lawyer for the defense asked, "Have any of you had to call the police to report violence? " My response??? "And.......that would be me!" The potential jurors laughed.
The final thing that got me removed from duty was when they asked if we knew any of the people on the jury. I did recognize a man who was in our former church. I said as much, and the man leaned over to smile at me and said, "Yes, Renee's husband was our pastor for many years!" Giggle....
So there was no surprise when I was dismissed.
I told Joel the story and he laughed until tears came and he was still laughing 2 hours later. This adventure got us talking about all the "interesting" encounters we have had in our ministry....with people threatening Joel's life.......seeing violence occur and trying to stop it........living with a threat on Joel's and our family's life for over six years.......the man hiding in our attic......Joel and sometimes myself being called to more than one crisis involving drugs, alcoholism, violence, murder, abuse, etc. We began to wonder if all pastors and their families have experienced such events in their lives.
And I began to ponder writing that book my sister Jan keeps telling me to write....I know how it would begin.......
A funny thing happened on the way to jury duty.....