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In July of 1996, Jay Levine sat on the jury of a small criminal case in New York City. It involved two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigated the crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecuted the offenders. These are their stories. DUN DUN!

Jury Duty i (6/15)

July 2, 1996

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→ Later 1pm

And it all went down, more or less according to plan + projection. We all filed back in, the unpicked jurors were dismissed… the seven picked were also dismissed, and we (the as yet unquestioned) moved in for scrutiny. Judge went around the room asking the usual + expected questions: Occupations? Married? Activities? Spouse’s job… but when he got to me I was so intent on categorizing my wife’s job, that I didn’t at first realize that he had switched the order and asked about my activities. I was well into my account before his lagging query finally clicked in and choked me up in a somewhat embarrassing and (judging from the riotous laughter around me) extremely amusing blunder. Actually it was quite the personal ice-breaker and I myself cracked up which is (thank god!) often my reaction when I make a fool of myself. After that I felt much more comfortable.

But it’s doubtful now I’ll get picked, because I cursed myself to objection yet again – about that same old pesky witness issue. Our slightly goofy albeit friendly DA asked if anyone would not be able to pass a guilty verdict if we accepted the probity of his witness. I said that if some random guy came in and pointed his finger, entirely convinced in his opinion, that no, that would not be enough. I proceeded to choke myself up again by saying that it would take additional evidence to ‘bolster his credibility’ – even though as I realized even as I said it – even though I had just said that I accepted his credibility… I was too caught in my own logical confusion to more adequately articulate my objection… But I can tell YOU. What I meant was just ‘cause someone believes something doesn’t make it true. Perhaps Shawtanee was a mile + ½ in the air when he saw this event; he has 100% conviction in his identification. Still, at that point I would need more. On the other hand, if he was right there, perfect view, etc. I might be more inclined to accept his statement.

So now I am on lunch break, ‘til 2:15. Then we return for questioning by the Defense. They would love to have me, no doubt, but I imagine the DA won’t allow it. We’ll see.

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