Monday, 30 December 2013

Jury selection!. (blog 22)

This is how jury selection works in Canada. At least, it's how it went down for me.

I had never been to trial before, so I asked my lawyer what to expect. She says,
"Typically, they get a list of between 100-150 prospective jury names from a pool and that the night before she would go through the list of names and investigate each through Goggle and facebook, see what they are all about, their political agendas, groups they are involved in and what not. She would then make notes on who to accept, who to strike and who to challenge" I had no other choice but to accept her answer, but on this blog, I would like to convey my thoughts on that.

Just how in the hell do you investigate the profiles of 100-150 people in a single night (unless you're the NSA)? Have any of you ever tried to say look up even your own name on facebook? Sometimes, it comes back with a list of several hundred other people with the same name. How do you know which is the right one? On top of that, many people don't even have a facebook profile picture. Did her list come with pictures of these people? If indeed it is a random jury pool from the telephone book, that would be kind of creepy if they had photos to go with those names...wouldn't it? And of course there are those who don't even have online identities. How long do they take to figure that out?

Anyways my attorney told me she would not actually be there for jury selection. She was too busy, so she would just send a student lawyer instead as this was all just a formality. So the next day I show up for court at 8:00 (the doors open at 8:15). As I approach, I see a crowd by the door so I go and wait to get in with them. Everyone there is groaning that it is chilly, a few people were cursing about having to be on jury detail. A few of us chatted amongst ourselves. I was asked if I too was here for jury selection. I stumbled and kind of said "yeah kinda I guess". I had my suspicions that I was standing next to a possible juror in my case so after that I kept my mouth closed.

Advancing the story, I meet up with the lawyer that was to select my jury. She calls me over to talk privately where I'm standing outside the courtroom with all the prospective jury members! She tells me I will be going in first and put into the prisoner's box. I was outraged! I complained
"Why do I have to do that? And why didn't anyone tell me this before?" She tells me its just procedure so that the prospective jury doesn't know if in fact I am in custody or not, and completely ignores my second question. "Unbelievable", I thought. What a shit show. As I walk by them all and enter the courtroom first, before a whole set of eyes and gasps, I heard someone say
"is it him?!"
So there I am (Shrek if you will) standing in the prisoner's box and they then call in the prospective jury...I could have just melted right there!
One by one they are called off and asked if they are present or not, I think it was like 125! They all sat behind me, to either side of me and to the front of me, talk about uncomfortable! After the judge gives his spiel about jury duty, whether a person can or not, he will take excuses into consideration and cautioned them that trial could very well run over the allotted five days, if they were selected then the would have no other choice but ride it out. And finally he gives them a spiel about how a Noble cause they are doing, should be proud to serve.
The judge then asks madam clerk to once again read of the charges, including a bit of filthy detail that I was accused of!. Counts one through seven I had to stand in front of all these strangers, bare the verbal lashes thrown at me and it wasn't good enough to answer once for one through seven, I had to listen to the filth of each and every single one and answer each and every single one "NOT GUILTY"! I looked back at a couple hundred sets of eyes and I seen grandmothers, grandfathers, men my age, young women, mothers, fathers....I nearly felt as if I would pass out. That had to be the toughest day by far!
By groups of twelve they were called, some so close to me I could touch them. the looks and stares were as if someone had poured gasoline on me and I was about to ignite .Fairly quickly, they chose 12 and two alternates. Everyone was excused to leave and the 12 plus two had to go with the sheriff. I too was allowed to leave, I wasn't held back either and I rode the elevator down with some, walked out the courthouse with some and rode the train from downtown with some. No one said anything directly to me, but let me tell you there was allot of evil looks and whispers! Honestly, I had to just detach myself from it all, never looked to the ground but kept my head up, stern face and silently prayed to god for strength.
The day after trial started, I walked through the metal detector with many of them. no one said a word, and a few of us went to the bathroom where we would put our belts back through our pants, tidy ourselves for court.....its a feeling I cannot nor ever will be able to verbalize.
I could say much more about it but I am STILL SO FUCKING HUMILIATED! I'll end with this, I don't know which is worse,facing those 12 plus the two alternates......or the over 100 that NEVER HEARD HER FUCKING CONFESSION, NEVER FUCKING SEEN WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT, THAT DON'T KNOW THE OUTCOME!
And yet there are those that don't understand why I don't want to be in Edmonton but get as much distance away as possible! Picture this, some guy calling me a rapist one day? Think the government called them all up and said to them "by the way he isn't guilty after all"? FUCK NO!