October 5, 2006 – 7th day of the trial
This is the eleventh entry in a series of entries on my role in the jury in a double murder case in the county of Contra Costa, California. You can see a more detailed view of the case including links to these posts and other items at this page.
10:00 am – We’re told to report today at 10am so we’re all here but of course they’re not ready for us.
10:30 am – Still waiting
10:35 am – The bailiff comes out and tells us that they’re still in hearings and were all day yesterday about the instruction phase. Because of something that happened yesterday they may have to re-open the evidence phase. Joy. Most of us expected to go in and told to go home again until Tuesday morning. Monday is Columbus Day so there is no court Monday.
10:40 am – We’re brought into court and told that they are trying to locate a prior witness, someone in law enforcement, and that if they can find him today that we’ll hear from him. But because of this development that we’re not going to get the case today (for deliberations). This effectively means that we aren’t going to deliberate until Monday. Joy again. We’re told to meet back at 1:15 in the hope they can locate the witness and listen to him today.
1:15 pm – We go back into court. There’s a feeling among everyone that we’re going to be released until Tuesday morning because they probably weren’t able to find the witness. Monday is a holiday it turns out (Columbus Day)
It turns out we are partially correct. They weren’t able to find the witness but the lawyers have agreed to read a portion of an interview transcript between Detective Moule and the defendent. The defense lawyer reads off an exchange about whether or not the defendent took anything from JP’s car. He repeatedly denied taking anything because there was nothing worth taking. My take is that he’s telling the truth. He was consistent in this fact and it would be a minor thing to lie about.
The question is, why did they take all this time to read this into the record? My take is that it has something to do with the 3rd charge, robbery. I don’t know if we have heard enough for the robbery charge and if the robbery charge isn’t upheld how does it affect the felony murder charges that include an enhancement on both robbery and firearms. I will have to wait until I hear the instructions to understand how it might affect my decision on his guilt or innocence.
The judge dismissed us until Tuesday morning at 8:30 am at which time we will start to receive deliberation instructions. There wasn’t enough time this afternoon to get all of the instructions apparently. I’m not looking forward to Tuesday morning because it’s going to be very tedious to listen closely for that long. I still wish I knew what my role will or won’t be in deliberations.
Commentary – This is now really frustrating. We were ahead of schedule, things were moving smoothly and now this. On top of that I’m still not sure if I will get to participate actively in deliberation discussions since I’m an alternate. Earlier in the trial it was indicated I would have to stay through deliberations but no one is for sure. That would really suck to be honest (and blunt) if I am sent home once things go to the jury.