juryroomJust after I was chosen to be the foreman, there was a knock on the door to the jury room. I went to the door and opened it. The Bailiff presented us with a menu in which to order our dinner since we had decided to work into the evening to see if we could come to an agreement. One by one, we ordered our meals.

After the bailiff left, we began the process of deliberation. The role of a jury foreman is usually defined by the members of the jury panel with one exception. It is the jury foreman that signs the verdict paper and it is the jury foreman who answers the judge’s questions when we reenter the courtroom. It is also the jury foreman that reads that commonly read statement “we the jury………”

The first thing I suggested was that each juror state their position as to what they heard and if there was anything that they were concerned about. It was not exactly a poll but each juror did give were they stood at that point.

It was immediately clear that the jury was not in agreement as to what the verdict should be. There were two that had a verdict that was not the same as the rest of the panel.

I then asked the two to argue their position and see how we could resolve their concerns to see if they or we were to change our position and at the end of the deliberation process and render a verdict.

As the two presented their positions and the rest of us interacted with them, it became apparent that we were going to want to hear both audio cd’s in order to clear up the single point that seemed to be holding up there being a majority verdict in this case.

As the foreman, it was my duty to write down any request or question the jury had for the court and hand the paper to the bailiff who was outside the door. While we waited for the bailiff to return, we continued to deliberate.

The bailiff returned shortly thereafter and we were led back into the courtroom. The judge asked who the foreman was and I answered. The judge explained that due to the technical problems, they would not be able to play the cd of the interrogation of the defendant but was prepared to play the recording of the controlled telephone call.

I had a brief discussion with the jurors and wrote what we were looking for in the other interview. The bailiff took the request to the judge who read it. He then instructed the court reporter to read back that portion of the interview we wanted to hear.

The recording of the telephone call was then replayed for us to hear. We then were escorted to the jury room to continue deliberating.

After we sat down, I asked the two if what they had heard had, in any way, changed their position. They said yes.

As this moment, there was a knock on the door. Our meals had arrived. We decided to pause and consume our meals. I would poll the panel after we ate.

After we finished our meal, I asked the panel members if they were ready to render a verdict. They said yes. I then asked them to raise their hand to each of the three questions I was instructed to ask. To each of the questions the answers were the same.

A verdict was reached. After I filled out the required paperwork, I went to the door and notified the bailiff we had reached a verdict.

A short time later, we were escorted back into the courtroom.

To be continued:

Stay tuned

MURT

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