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|Posted on May 1, 2012 at 2:27 AM||comments ()|
Yes, I received the court summons for jury duty in the mail and had to report last week. Well, guess what the trial was about? A DUI- Driving Under the Influence aka Drunk Driving. Right down my alley! So, after reporting, I sat with the 65 prospective jurrors waiting to be called to be interviewed by the judge, prosecution and defense attorneys. Questioning the first 18 people took about 2 1/2 hours. Several of the first wave were dismissed and more were called to the "testify". I happened to be the next 18th prospective jurror. This was a nerve racking experience. I felt like I was on trial. A sample of a few of the questions we were all asked are as follows: Name, education, job, spouse, spouse's job, children, adult children's jobs, notice of self or family members with a record of and arrest or conviction of crime, status of driving, experience with police in any way-traffic infraction, being a victim of a crime, etc.,personal drinking or alcohol experience, personal feelings about people who drink or are alcoholics, ability to judge facts of alleged charges fairly and not influenced by personal feelings or past experiences, members of AA or NA or donator to these organizations, and ability to follow the judge's instructions even if have disagreement with them. On the second day of questioning, the jury was chosen and the twelve chairs were taken. I was in the 13th chair. I was to be considered as a possible alternate. Five more people were to be questioned at the following session. Today, that occured and the two alternates were chosen. I was not one of them. Unburdened, I joined the other dismissed prospective jurors and we exited the courthouse having fulfilled our obligation for another year. What I found most glaring during the interviews was that 95% of prospective jurrors had experienced alcohol problems themselves, or with family members or friends. Some lived with very tragic and dramatic hurtful consequences to them or someone else but all were negatively effected in one way or another and the experience was long lived, had left its scars. The fact that the defendent's blood alcohol was .08, which is the legal definition of "drunk", was being challenged as well as the question of whether or not the defendent was driving at the time of arrest. Note: One of the early warning signs of alcoholism is a DUI. However, the jury was not to be diagnosing the "patient"..only to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, if indeed the .08 was an accurate measure by an accurate testing process and if the defendent was indeed driving the vehicle when he was pulled over by the highway patrol officers. I felt relief when I was dismissed from this case and most thankful that I am no longer living with an active alcoholic, am not mired in the turmoil, stress and crazy-making of addiction. I am thankful that I acted to get help for my co-addiction and that my husband finally got help for himself and that the two of us have been living a happy, healthy, and addiction-free life for the past 28 years.