Thursday, April 12, 2012

"We've Got a Verdict"

I've discussed the phone call in an earlier post.  The court clerk called my phone with those four words.  Deliberations started at 2:10.  The verdict came at 4:15.  It had been two hours.  This was the first note.  The jurors hadn't asked to see any of the evidence.  They hadn't asked to have any testimony read back.  Nor the charges.

My thoughts zoomed.  Two hours is too short.  Must be not guilty.  How could they take two hours?  No notes?  They didn't want to see or hear anything again?  What were the jurors thinking? 

I avoided my colleagues as I walked to the elevator.  That way I didn't have to tell everyone I was going to get a verdict.  I wouldn't have to answer their questions the moment I returned.

The courtroom was on the first floor.  It was the same courtroom as the stabbing trial I lost, described in the above post.  Bad karma?

I pulled the metal handle of the light-colored wooden doors.  It was moist.  Was it from my fingertips?  The defendant and his attorney weren't in the courtroom yet.  The jury note said, "we have reached a verdict."  No indication to what it was.

The court officer looked at me.  "Got a verdict," he said and turned around.  Wait, what was that?  A tic?  A wink?  Was that my eyes deceiving me?  Did he know?  Was I just looking for signs?

The butterflies never leave.  I laughed and joked with the court officers.  I made small talk with the stenographer.  I barely heard the conversation.  My mind was inside the jury room.  I wondered what I was about to hear.

The weekend at work away from my family.  Late nights, early mornings, and incoherent dreams.  The phone call I would have to make to the victim.  The second-guessing.  It all merged and churned in my stomach.

The attorney showed with his client.  The judge came out seconds later.  The jury filed in, their faces stoic.

I was somewhere else, watching it unfold.  I stared into the table.  The wheels on the reporter's chair stopped squeaking for the first time all trial.  His fingers depressed keys that meant something only to him.  

The foreperson rose when requested.  He spoke when asked.  No sounds anywhere else.

Guilty, they said.     

1 comment:

  1. Good God, that was tense! But YAY for you!!!! Woo hoo!!!! I honestly don't know how you prosecutors can STAND it!!!! I only waited for a verdict once, as a family member of victims and it was excruciating. Definitely the worst part of the trial.