Another reason I haven't been posting much lately is that for the last month I have been a member of a jury for a criminal trial. We arrived at our verdict last week and found the defendant guilty of 5 separate charges, the most serious of which was impaired driving causing death.
It was strange and difficult having responsibility over a decision that would have such a large impact on a person as well as his family and friends. It was also difficult hearing and seeing, day after day, all the detailed words and images related to such a tragedy. The person killed in the accident was a good friend of the accused so our verdict found the driver criminally responsible for the death of his friend. I certainly felt some sympathy for the man but our decision had to be based on evidence only - 'without sympathy or prejudice'. I'm thankful that our duty did not include any sentencing.
It was certainly an emotionally powerful experience - one that I will never forget. I take away a great many positive things including a stronger appreciation for my own personal freedom and newfound respect for our law enforcement and judicial systems in Ontario, Canada. However, I think the most positive aspect of the whole experience for me were the other people that served with me as members of the jury. The fact that 12 randomly selected people, of various ages, from all walks of life, would turn out to be so intelligent, friendly, funny, and supportive has made a deep impression on me.