Friday, February 06, 2009

That Crucial Moment

There are few experiences in life that can rival awaiting the reading of a jury verdict. I got that experience Wednesday as I sat in a courtroom with a friend whose fate lay in the hands of a jury of his peers. For days we had heard testimony and arguments. Sure, I was biased by friendship and the experiences of knowing this person for the last four or so years, but even imagining myself as an impartial listener the evidence seemed so strong for the defense and the prosecution witnesses contradicted each other repeatedly.

The court officer called us back into the courtroom.
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The jury oozed into the courtroom in slow motion.
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The foreman of the jury stood.
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Guilty.

It's like getting punched in the gut with a pillow. Guilty.
The feeling is utterly helpless. My mind was frantically racing for some way to change what was happening, all the time knowing I couldn't. Wake up. Go back. That didn't happen. Guilty.

I sat there not sure what to do. It's over, but as long as I sit here it's not really over, is it? The sentencing date was set and the next case on the docket began and I was still sitting there.

Even now I still have that sudden urge to change things somehow, knowing I can't. I feel helpless. I couldn't stop it. I can't stop it. It's going to happen. I can feel my stomach clench at the thought. I know it wasn't me in the defendant's chair, but it feels like I was.

It feels like I still am.

1 comment:

  1. Lord do I know what that's like... what was the charge?

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