I was on jury duty earlier last week and the case was already over so I’m allowed to post this~
I decided to write about it so when I looked back I could have something to remind me of my first juror experience :)
When I got the notice last month, I actually felt like seeing a letter from Hell ^^; since there’s no guarantee whether I’d be excused after the second day or be put on a 3-week-or-longer-than-that kinda case. This was the second time I got a summon letter, but it’s the first time for me to be on the panel. I really have to say that it’s quite an interesting experience.
I took a bus to the Superior Court in downtown Seattle on Monday morning as there’s no way I could find a parking garage that cost less than $10 they paid us a day. XD After sitting through orientation for a little while, I found my name in the second pool of 40 potential jurors.
We followed the bailiff up to the courtroom and the first thing that caught my eyes was the defendant who’s wearing a headset sitting next to an interpreter. She’s definitely Asian but I couldn’t pinpoint it from the beginning which country she’s from. My first thought: uh oh, what did she do?
The Judge gave us a brief overview of the case, the defendant name was mentioned, but I couldn’t quite catch it, well, the way American people pronounce Asian names is not an easiest thing to grasp LOL
After a long lengthy set of questions from both attorney, 27 of us was excused, leaving the lucky 13 on this case (12 plus 1 alternate).
I couldn’t help giggling at these attorneys. Mr. State Attorney was nothing like Mr. McCoy in Law & Order, he looked kinda bored and monotone. While Ms. Defense Attorney reminded me of Cruella in 101 Dalmatians!! XD Well, she’s not old, but she definitely looks like Cruella from my POV, plus she’s super dramatic in every single way! LOL
The case was about forgery. The dollar amount was rather small, only $700, but a crime is a crime.
Basically, the plaintiff, D, was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, so she hired the defendant, P, who was a custodian at her office, to do her housekeeping job twice a month with the agreed upon rate of $200/month. During the course of this employment, P always came up with excuses to ask D for advance payment, house payment, car payment, son stole someone’s check and she had to repay. o_O” D usually gave her if she could.
In November 2007, P asked D repeatedly for advance, claiming that her sister got kidnapped in Thailand (oh hell, of all places, she picked THAILAND!!! JESUS! I don’t think $700 can save anyone in my country.. -“-). D refused as she’s living paycheck to paycheck.
Working at UW, D got paid twice a month on the 10th and 25th. For November payment to P, D gave her a check for $200 on 11/26.
On 12/2, D went into her online banking to check her remaining balance before she wrote a check for payment and found that she had insufficient funds in her account after some auto payment bounced. uh oh.
D pulled up the transaction and saw one $700 out-of-sequence check. When she clicked on that check number, she saw a scan of the check, payable to P with someone else’s handwriting that definitely not hers. uh oh uh oh. That check was cashed together with the $200 check she gave P on 11/26.
D contacted the bank, and then called the police.
Monday 12/3, D went to the office, typed up a note and gave it to P, basically told P that she’s fired and D wanted her house key back.
Tuesday morning, D came down from her bedroom to find P in her house, started cleaning as nothing happened. D got upset, she told P to gave her the key and leave right away. P kept saying taht she’s sorry and “I’ll pay you back”.
What funny about this case was the defense attorney, Ms. Cruella. She’s trying to make it like D wrote the check and couldn’t even remember it. She even tried to go into the fact that MS may cuase short term memory loss in D’s case.
The defense tactic was pretty simple. Cruella used the fact that P is not Asian, so she said P couldn’t read, write or understand English. Woman, that defendant was able to ask for extra money for that past 18 months, there’s no way she did not understand one bit of English.
Another thing that made me giggle was that Laos was Thailand’s neighbor country, so I could understand about 60-70% of the language. So when the defendant took the stand, listening to her interact with the interpreter is quite entertaining xD
Anyway, we finally got together in the jury room to discuss about this case on Wednesday. Deliberation! One of us left as he’s the alternate in this case. We picked a presiding juror, then went over the court document which stated that we had to prove 4 points before we could say that the defendant was guilty.
So we started looking at the evidence, which were copy of D’s checks to P over the past year, including that $700 forgery one. The handwriting was definitely off, the forged signature was pretty close but you really could tell when a person ‘signed’ or ‘tried to write’.
After discussing the evidence and pointing out what we observed during the trial, it didn’t take us long to come up with the consensus verdict.
We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of forgery.
A crime of opportunity.
What I still don’t understand is that why throwing friendship and trust away for such a small amount of money?
Same goes for internet life.
It’s interesting how RL and fandom life crossed path sometimes.