by Antoinnette Borbon
In the state’s case against a young man from Oregon, who allegedly led authorities on a dangerous high-speed chase, jurors were probed about the ability to make a sound decision without exercising a “rush to judgment verdict.”
During jury selection today, Deputy Public Defender Dan Hutchinson, along with Deputy District Attorney Matt De Moura, questioned jurors’ ability to decide on a sound verdict if the case becomes handed over to them for deliberation on a Friday.
Mr. Hutchinson asked jurors, “If this case is given to you on a Friday, will you rush to a quick verdict because you do not want to return on Monday?” He explained to potential jurors that, in some trials, that happens.
“Jurors are tired, and they want to go home and they make a rushed decision, I have seen it happen a lot and I do not want you to do that,” Hutchinson asserted.
“No, this is a serious thing to decide on, it should be taken seriously and I will do that,” added a potential juror. All other prospective jurors agreed.
DDA De Moura explained to jurors that the “defense does not have to prove anything to you, I want you to understand, I have the burden of proving my case beyond a reasonable doubt, but I want you to take your time in deciding whether or not I have proven my case.”
Both attorneys seemed intent on making sure the decision process was not taken lightly, but was well thought out. Neither counsel wanted any potential juror to feel they had to make a quick decision.
One potential juror explained to the attorneys that she had previously been selected for a jury trial and, when they were handed the case, “the floor person, who elected himself, dominated us, I felt it was awful, it was a bad experience for me, I felt awful in the decision.”
She explained she did not want to go through that again, if chosen. Another potential juror added, “This is someone’s life, a very serious decision.”
The concern of the defense, as stated above, was that, if jurors were handed the case on a Friday, as sometimes happens, jurors would not want to come back on the following Monday, so they are tempted to make a rushed judgment.
But the potential jury members asserted they could still make a sound decision on a verdict, even if they had to return on a Monday.
A jury panel consisting of six men and six women were chosen and opening arguments began.
The trial is estimated to end on Friday.