Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido

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People v. Edward Rodriguez is done!

I have completed by term of service as a juror. After two days of trial and one day of deliberation, we have come to a verdict in the case of People v. Edward Rodriguez. Rodriguez was charged with Robbery in the First Degree, Robbery in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, and Petit Larceny, all for stealing $200 from Mauricio Rosario on Noble Avenue here in the Bronx. In the end, we weighed the evidence and -- after a certain amount of passionate arguing -- agreed that the prosecution did not meet the burden of proof in order to find him guilty of either of the first two counts. Robbery-1 requires that there be a weapon, and while Rosario claims he was threatened with a knife, no knife was recovered and we were not convinced of the existence of such a weapon. Robbery-3 requires that the money be forcibly taken from the victim, and we weren't convinced of that, either. Having said that, we did all agree completely that Rodriguez stole money from Rosario (we had a confession and everything), but the circumstances as outlined to us in the courtroom only left him guilty of Grand Larceny-4. (The way this worked is, if he's guilty of the first charge, you stop there. If he's not guilty of the first, you move onto the next one, and so on down the line.) We easily found him guilty of that -- which is good, because the arguments about whether or not it was Robbery-1 or Robbery-3 got pretty heated.

Not that that's a bad thing. Everyone in that room was taking their duty as a juror seriously -- sometimes to the point of shouting and interrupting -- but the events of this day were going to change Rodriguez's life forever. We wanted to be absolutely sure of what we decided.

And we were. I actually went into the deliberations intending to find him guilty of Robbery-3, but the discussions led me (and others) to change our minds.

This is my fourth jury, and it's a very edifying and wonderful experience. It's also critically important to allow our criminal justice system to work properly. People who gloat about getting out of jury service are, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, bad citizens of this country. I hope that, if I'm ever in a situation where I'm on trial for something that the jury in my case is as thoughtful and thorough as we were today.

Today, the system worked. And it was awesome.

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