Walk a Mile – Or Sit Down and Shut Up!

Deborah Venable



This is an article (rant) I never wanted to write.  It should not have been necessary, but in today’s world, I guess it is truly no surprise.  The media and the government, especially those in high places, just won’t shut up about the Zimmerman trial.


Race baiters in this country deserve nothing less than to be completely ignored and only ridiculed when they deliberately get in your face, (which is all the time actually) but the media – all media – and those prominent political and famous people commenting on the atrocity of the jury verdict in the Zimmerman trial deserve to be hauled off to the woodshed!  They are ignorant, stupid, senseless people who only prove their ignorance when they open their mouths. 


This is the part I really never wanted to write.  Many years ago when I was still a relatively young woman, I got called for jury duty.  It wasn’t the first time or the last, but it was the only time I was selected to sit on a jury for a murder trial in a superior county court.  It was an inconvenient time for me.  I had two young children at home and my husband and I were both working multiple jobs to make ends meet, but I felt compelled to do my civic duty, so I went and didn’t try to “get out” of my jury duty.


Things were quite different back then. There was no “motor voter” – so if you wanted to vote, you actively sought out your precinct captain and registered.  In doing so, you placed your name on the list of potential jury pools.  In other words, the pools were smaller back then.  When you did get that call, you knew that if you didn’t show up, a bench warrant would be issued for your arrest.  If for some reason you just couldn’t serve, the process to get out of that call was not easy – not for those of us who believed in doing the right thing and couldn’t afford to have a good lawyer on retainer.  The only time I took that route was when I was called while still nursing an infant.  It took a good while and a sworn affidavit to release me – and only with a promise that I would be available at a later date.  The later date came a few years after – hence, my selection for the aforementioned murder trial.


At my present age, I must tell you that I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.  Most people in this country have never had that experience.  In all the people I have met over my lifetime, I have not personally known another except for those other 11 people with whom I served. 


The trial was gruesome to say the least.  Sitting in that courtroom day after day hearing and seeing testimony about a brutal murder, taking notes, handling each piece of evidence, paying strict attention to directions from the judge and opinions of the lawyers is some of the hardest work I have ever done.  This was further complicated by the fact that the defendant was an active duty military member, the victim was his wife, and the star witness was their 13 or 14 year-old daughter, who witnessed the whole thing.  The icing on the cake was that he never denied killing his wife – he just claimed the insanity defense.


When final arguments were in, and the case went to the jury to decide, we had two choices – death penalty or innocent by reason of insanity, where he would be remanded to a psychiatric hospital. 


The first order of business was to select a jury foreman and take our first vote.  One of the few details I have remembered about the whole thing was the outcome of that first vote – tied, six and six.  This is not unusual I guess.  Remember, throughout a trial the jury members cannot discuss the case with anyone – including each other.  They can only begin to discuss it when the trial is over and all the evidence is in.  If the lawyers have done their job right, you find yourself in a group of people with vastly different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions.  That is how the American justice system is supposed to work.  If the people have been honest, prejudices and preconceived notions on the particulars of the case have been weeded out in their selection.  Each juror was questioned individually about his experiences and background that might have a bearing on the case.  The weeding process can sometimes take days.  It is no wonder to me that a jury will hang dead even on the first vote.


Jury deliberation is an amazing process.  A good jury will not return an immediate verdict in a complicated case – especially if there is a life and death outcome.  It took us multiple days.  We asked to see transcripts, evidence and submitted questions to the judge before finally agreeing on our verdict. 


I have purposely left out most of the particulars in this case and have deliberately forgotten a lot of them.  It would have made a good book, had I been a writer back then. The trauma a good juror can go through is real.  It would be an eye opener to many ignorant fools, who think they know everything there is to know about America’s “broken” justice system. 


The system is not broken just because any percentage of the population is not pleased with the outcome of a trial.  Believe me, all you Trayvon fools out there – I have been displeased with many verdicts that you probably celebrated!  Stop acting like spoiled brats and get on with your lives!  That goes for the overindulgence of the media in this case too!  I am ashamed to call you my countrymen!


The president should hang his head in shame for what he is doing to the country.  So should Eric Holder.  They have both done such harm that it will take years to bring us back to where we were before they came into power.  They are power hungry fools that also happen to be idiots. 


The point of this whole article (rant) is that when a jury is charged with hearing and deciding a case, everybody else should butt out.  Otherwise, we may as well not worry if an auto mechanic wants to do brain surgery on us now should we?  They have a job to do, and by the end of the trial, THEY are the ONLY ones qualified to do it! 


Hence, the title of this article (rant) – walk a mile in their shoes or sit down and shut up!



Home    Rant Page    Email DebV