2.10.2012

Jury Duty

I received a summons for jury duty for the Galveston County Courts last week. So, I went down to the island on Monday, sat around a while, and then was dismissed for the day. We were all told to call in the usual number to see if we were needed the next day or not.

When I called in Monday night, my name was not listed.

When I called in on Tuesday night, it was. So, Wednesday morning I packed up and drove to the island, pulled into the Justice Center, and went up to County Court No. 3.

I was possible juror number 15. We sat through voir dire and found out that only 6 jurors would be used. I thought I was home free! There was no way there would be 9 folks excused in front of me.

I was wrong.

I was the second juror chosen.

That started 3 days of testimony that boiled down to "he said, she said" in a child custody case. The dad was trying to get primary conservatorship of his kids, while the mom was trying to keep primary conservatorship.

The witnesses were mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad, and a former teacher of the kids. The mom and stepmom were relatively decent witnesses. The dad was okay, but seemed to be following the letter of the visitation rules and not the spirit. So, I can't really blame him, but it didn't come off very well.

The stepdad. I despised him. He always had a smug grin on his face and his body posture indicated that he thought nothing could touch him.

some of the things that came up in the trial, briefly, were: a CPS investigation that did not find any problems, an RV trip headed by stepdad and mom with spankings/punishments for the 7 kids (3 involved in the custody and 4 who were stepdad's kids), angry emails/texts, yelling and screaming at a door, attempting to get kids moved off of various soccer teams, and a kid being "pulled off stage" before a choir performance.

When we first started to deliberate, four folks were set in their opinion. Two others were wishy-washy. After a little more discussion, the two wishy-washy ones agreed with the rest and we were able to come up with a unanimous decision. We asked the judge if our decision had to be unanimous and he said no, but we thought it would be better if it could be unanimous.

We decided the mom should keep primary conservatorship.

I'm tempted to go to some of the spots mentioned in the trial to try and watch the family interaction and see what it's really like.

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