Friday, March 14, 2014

Trial by Jury

So, I was in a bit of a stupor last night. I did start writing this post, then, I guess, drifted off.  I don't have too much actual memory of that, but I vaguely recall that maybe Letterman was on when I turned off the TV and trudged off to bed.  Or maybe it was Ferguson.  It's sort of a blur.

Anyway, I think I mentioned that I was participating in my first trial this week.  There will still likely be more said about that later, but for now the thing that is all-consuming is that we lost.  Honestly, by the time the jury returned with the verdict, I wasn't surprised, since I didn't think the proceedings went all that well, but it was still disappointing.

Disappointing for me, but mostly for our client.  You know, in a lot of ways, I think our society has become too litigious, and I think that makes the average person very wary of anyone's claims.  The days of juries awarding money at the drop of a hat are probably gone.  But, unfortunately, that means that sometimes people who have legitimate claims bear the brunt of today's cynicism, and it's easy to assume that everyone is somehow trying to play the system and is out for whatever they can get.  That's too bad, really, when I still firmly believe that most people are good, decent folks who tell the truth about what happened to them.

Of course, that's the problem with an adversarial justice system, right?  That if you believe most people are telling the truth, it's a difficult thing when two sides are saying different things.  Surely one of them must be lying.  Trials force people to decide things in black or white, when there's almost always a lot of gray in the situation.  And there are real people stuck in that gray, who suffer when they're forced into one area or the other.  All in all, I think it can be a really sad thing.