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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 (4/15)

July 2, 1996

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→ Later 10am

What an odd place – the boredom mixed w/passion/fear/change – because so much rides upon the proceedings behind these doors. But for us: it’s an imposition, it’s interminable waiting tedium. Reading, chatting, waiting.

Waiting to be led into chambers, and who appears, to my right, but defendant B: youngish guy, maybe 20, hair tight braids laced across his scalp. Two small tight ponytails at his nape… Anyway, he appeared, at my right, talking to a young black woman whom I had considered to be (if I had considered her at all) a fellow juror… They spoke in an undertone – she got up and left, he went back toward the chambers. No big deal… only took a minute, but the dynamic was dense w/radiating significance. Not that they’re plotting an escape or anything cinematic, more that this relationship – previously unknown – took shape in that small quick exchange.

Soon thereafter another young black woman was led past w/mom, by lawyer, in tears. What is going on in there?! Meanwhile we all wait. Small chatter, the pervasive and arcade-festive beeping cell phones. Mostly people reading, nodding off.

So what happened yesterday was… oh wait, we’re called!

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