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November 23, 2010

>Merchandising. Semiconductors. Manager. Mom.
Sales rep, writer, engineer.

Four days. 24 hours.
Most of it shoulder to shoulder, not speaking, just listening.

Squirming in chairs for hours, as knees and backs complained.

And then suddenly, we were talking. Arguing. Debating and deliberating.
His life was in our hands.

Would we agree?

The deputy brought coffee and sweets. We argueed some more. Cordial, though, always. Everyone felt the weight of our responsibility.

It wasn’t long. While we didn’t all agree on everything, we all agreed on one thing – it simply wasn’t there.

The evidence, that is. It just wasn’t there.

We made our voices known privately. Twelve slips of paper were passed to me from around the table.

He stood at the white board, ready to tally.

I began to read, and in big letters and small, cramped writing and loopy cursive, each and every one saying the same thing.

Not guilty.

I cried a little as I read the last one in a voice barely above a whisper.

Four days, twenty four hours; two hours and 48 minutes to decide.

Not guilty.

It wasn’t convenient, it wasn’t timely, but, oh, I was so proud to be there. Prouder still to be the one to sign the paper that sent, what we believed to be, an innocent man home to his family.

The charge was not enormous, but one man’s life would have been forever changed. None in the room took their role lightly.

The verdict was read, and confirmed, and with a sigh of relief we filed out of the court room, like cars pulling away from a traffic light. Each turning our own way as we pushed out the glass doors into the rain.

Twelve strangers, one intersection, one week, one life.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2010 5:55 pm

    >Wow, what a post! Thanks for sharing some of your experience. You have made something that most people dread and avoid at all costs really touching and valuable. I hope more people are inspired by you to do their duty.

  2. November 24, 2010 5:26 pm

    >your. best. post. ever.I especially like the title.

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