Saturday, August 7, 2010

I have done my duty!

I just got done doing my civic duty as a US citizen- I did jury duty on Thursday AND Friday all day in Provo. It was very interesting and is quite the responsibility! I did enjoy it, although it was quite a long process. I was selected out of 50 potential jurors to be on an 8 person jury. I'm still wondering why i was chosen. However, court bailiff did mention to us later that if you are numbered between 1-12 in the jury "picking" process, it is very likely that you will be chosen. I was number 8 in that process and then ended up being juror number 3 in the actual trial.

I've always wanted to know what it's like to be in the court room and now I know. I've never seen an attorney in action, it's pretty intense. This particular trial got somewhat heated at moments amongst the attorneys, I loved it!

This trial was a Criminal Case. It was one of the Utah County Attorney's (so the State) against the two defendants who were charged with Aggravated Assault which is a 2ND degree Felony and also one count of Riot. Both were presently or had been affiliated with the gang PVL which in English translates to Provo Neighborhood Crazies. PVL is one of the most dangerous gangs in Utah county. Both defendants had been arrested several times and one more than 25 times which I just learned outside the courtroom today =)

It's a very long story with lots of little deatails which involves 3 different scenarios, but basically what had happened last October was the two victims were walking near a park by the Provo river when they heard a whistle. Two men appeared in the road and one rushed one of the victims and gashed his head with a rock multiple times and then again with a stick. Both the stick and rock can definitely be considered as deadly weapons. The other victim was also hit with a stick and then the two fled and the victims called the police.

The first day we heard the attorney's each tell there sides and then the victims testified of what happened. We also heard the Police Officer testify about his report. The 2ND day we heard both of the defendants testify, which was very different from the victims testimony's.

We didn't start our deliberation until about 6pm that night and it took us about 2 1/2 hours to come up with a verdict, which was guilty on both charges for both defendants. We watched them get sentenced and hand cuffed and sent out with security guards. We later learned that they were both housed by the Utah State prison beforehand.

I think it's sad that they were only 19 and one was 23 and had already been charged multiples times with assault, aggravated assault and many other charges. I think the only way they can turn there life around at this point is to go to prison for a number of years and not be associated with their gang and I really do hope they do turn their lives around. I'm happy about the decision we made as a jury and feel like we did consider every option, there were many things that played into it that made it harder for us to come up with a decision quickly.

All of the attorney's and the judge were very professional and respectful to everyone. This experience only made my belief in the Constitution and our role as citizens to play in American system of Justice stronger.

Oh and i forgot to mention that during all of our breaks we were sent to a jury room that was filled with candy, snacks, drinks and anything we wanted. If we had a request, they would go to the store and get it! Also, they ordered brick oven take out for us for dinner, so we were treated very well.

I would definitely do it again but at the same time, I'm glad it's over. Now it's YOUR turn to do your duty! Oh, and a big thanks to Steffani, for watching Alli at such short notice, you are a life saver!


youngkinfam said...

I have always wanted to do jury duty---It sounds so fun and interesting--I luv that kind of stuff!!!

Ryan and Amber said...

Shut up?! I didn't know you had to do jury duty??? What did you do with Allster? Good Job!

The Penney's said...

Wow! Sounds like you had quite the eye opening experience! Jury duty is something I haven't ever had to do YET. The court system is something that is so foreign to me!

Scott and Megan said...

Now that is a story! WOW, Ashley, that sounds so very interesting and totally cool. I watch a lot of Matlock and think I am totally qualified to be a juror....LOL. How interesting! WOW.