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Swimming in A Jury Pool

Posted in Jury on Wednesday February 22 2012 @ 7:43am

by Jeremy Flannery

Part 6: Defining Moments

Deliberations started with electing the foreperson. One juror asked the others who would like to be the foreperson. We all elected her because she spoke first. She accepted after stalling for about five minutes.

The foreperson is considered an equal, but has the duty of keeping order during deliberations, ensuring that each juror has a chance to speak about the case, while the others pay careful attention.

We began learning the legal definition of beyond a reasonable doubt and the criminal charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Patience is needed from all the jurors to ensure each is clear about the definitions. This discussion took about two hours.

After reviewing the definitions of the charges, we decided that the resisting arrest charge could only be considered if the disorderly conduct charge was rendered as a guilty verdict. We decided that a lawful arrest by a police officer would require that the defendant committed a crime requiring an arrest. Otherwise, it would be an unlawful arrest, and therefore a not guilty verdict.

It was about 5:00 p.m. by this time, and we decided to recess until 8:30 a.m. the next morning to discuss the disorderly conduct charge.

We reconvened the next morning by walking straight into the deliberations room and waiting for everyone to arrive. Deliberations for the disorderly conduct charge took about six hours. The majority of the discussion concerned what the crime of disorderly conduct is in Ohio.

The question we sought to answer was how the defendant would have recklessly caused inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm against the public peace for the officer to arrest him.

Two jurors perceived the defendant as possibly guilty of disorderly conduct because of how he acted on the witness stand. Under the rules of evidence. the defendant did not follow procedure on the stand by answering questions from the attorneys with questions. The defendant appeared to be eager to tell his story; maybe too eager. He eventually became upset because the questioning was not allowing him to tell his side as he wanted. He argued with the judge when instructed to follow the rules, such as to directly answer the questions being asked. Eventually, he said he would not answer any more questions because he thought the court was not interested in listening to him, and said he pleads the fifth. The judge then ordered the jury to leave the courtroom and requested that the attorneys meet her in chambers.

So, it was a reasonable suspicion for the two jurors to hold. The defendant lost his temper on the witness stand, and the two jurors said during deliberations that they could see him losing his temper with the arresting officer.

At this point, six of us (including this writer) firmly agreed upon not guilty on the disorderly conduct charge. Ultimately, these six decided there was not enough evidence to prove the defendant committed disorderly conduct during the incident in question.

The arresting officer testified that fifteen people had gathered around the scene due to the defendant's conduct, therefore the defendant was disturbing the public peace through his conduct. The three defense witnesses, including the defendant, testified that only one person came to the scene. No other witnesses were called, and the prosecution did not recall the arresting officer to rebut this testimony.

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