Criminal

Jury Selecton for DWI Driving While Intoxicated Trial

By September 3, 2016 No Comments

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Thank you, Judge. How are y’all doing? Does anybody need a break or anything? Yes, no. Speak now or for 30 minutes hold your peace. Is everybody okay? All right. I am the lawyer for this young man right here.

How many of y’all think that the government is always right? I don’t know how to make this go black. There we go. How many of y’all think the government is always right? None of y’all think the government’s always right.

Y’all think the government screws things up sometimes? Tell me about it, Ms. Caryon Miller. We’re gonna make you talk. What does the government do sometimes where they screw things up?

VENIREPERSON: I work in health care, so we have a lot of issues with various things through health care.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so through health care you’ve seen a lot of different problems with the government?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: I would imagine through health care you’ve seen problems with doctors?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Is anybody 100 percent correct all the time?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Doctors make mistakes.
VENIREPERSON: Right.
MR. MARCUM: Have you seen tests come back that weren’t correct?
VENIREPERSON: Absolutely.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Labs screw things up, don’t they?
VENIREPERSON: (Nods head up and down)
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Well, then, you may be a good person to ask this question. Why do we have jury trials on things like DWI?
VENIREPERSON: So that all the evidence can be considered and a decision made.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so if a lab says it’s .08 or above, why wouldn’t we just say, well, that’s a given? That’s a done deal. Why do we have a jury trial to listen to that and decide if that’s real?
VENIREPERSON: There can be mistakes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so what would your job as a juror be if you’re selected?
VENIREPERSON: To see all of the different information and make a decision based on all of the information.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And who you are and just be logical and smart?
VENIREPERSON: Correct.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Does that make sense?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How many of y’all — All of y’all have seen somebody who’s intoxicated, correct? This is not brain science on whether or not someone’s intoxicated, is it? Is anybody concerned that if you watched a video of someone that you would not be able to tell whether or not that person was intoxicated or not? You see what I’m saying? Some of you know people, you see ’em on the street sometime, and you can tell, even though you don’t know who they are, that they’re intoxicated or that they’re not. Correct? So you don’t have to be a doctor to know somebody’s intoxicated. Is that fair? What do you think about that, Ms. Miller? That you could also judge whether or not someone’s intoxicated.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You have a stepfather that works in law enforcement.
VENIREPERSON: He did many years ago.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What sort of law enforcement was he?
VENIREPERSON: It was before my mother and him were married, so…
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It’s just a long time ago. He’s not really that relevant, him working in law enforcement?
VENIREPERSON: (Shakes head side to side)
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Who has a relative or a good friend that works in law enforcement? You do. All right. Let’s start with you. We talked to him a bunch. Let’s start with you. The other Ms. Miller. We went from Miller to Miller. Ms. Miller, tell me who you have that is in law enforcement.
VENIREPERSON: I have a friend whose husband is on PD in SWAT. He’s a SWAT guy.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. And do you have an belief system — or does anybody. This includes
Everybody, but you because you’ve got experience with a police officer — that police officers are always right?
VENIREPERSON: No, they’re not.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Where does that — You say, no, they’re not and you shake your head with some
Confidence. Where does that come from?
VENIREPERSON: Just — We’ve had issues, outside of alcohol, involved at our home where they come and they’re all cocky and, you know — They’re just being cocky and not really doing their job protecting citizens. So they’re not always right.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: There are some that definitely are.
VENIREPERSON: Oh, yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Not always right. But there’s definitely some that don’t act all cocky.
VENIREPERSON: Oh, definitely.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And there certainly are — and I think all of y’all, if you’ve been pulled over like I have for speeding, have probably met both in your life. Right? You’ve met really nice people, and you go, I’m so glad you’re a public servant up they’re protecting us. And then you’ve met people and you go, oh, my God. You’re gonna be on TV before this is over, before your career is over. Right? Is that fair to say?
VENIREPERSON: Sure.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Is there anybody that would judge the credibility of a police officer, if they testified, different than you would a civilian?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yes, ma’am. Talk to me. Ms. Johnson.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Ms. Vicki Johnson.
VENIREPERSON: I would because I’m not sure I could tell by looking at someone if they were intoxicated or not. If they didn’t have any of those mental or physical, they could still be impaired but not immediately obvious. I think particularly patrolman, people that drive on the highways all daylong look for certain kinds of erratic behavior. Now, it may not be because of intoxication, but that’s part of their job to protect. So I think they do have certainly more ability to see problems than I do.

DEFENSE COUNSEL: All right. What about just flat out credibility. If someone comes in with a uniform — let’s say — Let’s say it’s about any issue. Was the car red, which could absolutely be a relevant consideration? If a police officer says I pulled over a red car and it turns out the car was yellow, it would be a big deal. Correct? It would be a issue, even though it’s not one of those elements. Right? But if — We’re talking about just credibility of people. By putting on that — that badge and putting on a uniform, does that witness become more credible to you than if — a person who looked like one of y’all walked in and sat down?

VENIREPERSON: No. I mean, you take an oath you’re gonna tell the truth.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Does anybody feel like – You feel like that their — the uniform makes them more credible so to speak? That’s an easy way of saying it, or trying to say it.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. You’re Mr. —
VENIREPERSON: Oakes.
VENIREPERSON: — Oakes. Tell me about that.
VENIREPERSON: I don’t think a police officer’s gonna be here and lie on the stand and risk getting caught. That and maybe losing his job. Where somebody that we don’t know, that has nothing to lose, would come in and lie.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. So in your mind the uniform itself just gives that witnesses just an ever so slight edge over anyone else?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
VENIREPERSON: It could give them credibility and experience. Now, maybe, you know, they’ve been doing it for a long time or maybe they’re brand new and this is their first pullover. I don’t know. I think there are a lot of factors. But I do think they have more credibility. Just like I have more credibility in my job than someone who’s never done it before.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Does anybody else feel like Mr. Oakes? We’re just flat out coming in here them themselves have more credibility and he’s gonna really presume they’re not lying. Is that correct?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Because they have a uniform on. Anyone else? You added some more facts into it. Just — You presume that they’re not gonna lie just because they have a uniform on?
VENIREPERSON: No. Because they are people.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Right. So you add the other facts and say, well, I’m gonna — I’m gonna assess them — You start assessing their whole career when you add it in. Correct?
VENIREPERSON: Yeah, perhaps.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay.
VENIREPERSON: Again, based on other things. They all can lie or tell the truth.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yes. So does anyone have just such a positive belief in police officers that you would not fairly assess this case? That’s what I’m looking for. It’s a global I love cops. Nobody? All right. All right. Does anybody have a global hatred of cops that they could not assess it fairly? So we’re all just neutral? That’s the way we’re supposed to be. What if a police officer — or do you think a police officer should be held to a higher standard when you’re dealing with them committing crimes or them driving while intoxicated? You’re shaking your head, Mr. Wilson. Did I do that right? VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Mr. Wilson, tell me what you’re thinking.
VENIREPERSON: I think the role itself — If you’re gonna be upholding the law, then you need to be obeying the law. I was in real estate for a while, and there were ethics that we had to abide by. Not every realtor did that. But it’s — To me it’s not any different than a police officer or a medical practitioner.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: If a police officer were charged with a crime and a civilian’s charged with a crime, would beyond a reasonable doubt be just ever so slightly lower for you on the police officer to say guilty than on the civilian?
VENIREPERSON: No. I mean, because I think you would still have to do reasonable — If that’s the guidelines of the law, you have to do reasonable doubt.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And is reasonable doubt different for a police officer than it would be for a civilian? That’s what I’m looking for.
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Does anybody else feel like it would — and think about it for a second. Okay? Does anybody else feel like Mr. Wilson? That there’s a higher standard for police officers and crime, being defendants? Yes, sir.
VENIREPERSON: Yes, I do.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Mr. Powell.
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am. Just like he said. This is what you do. You’re — you’re — You’re a public servant to uphold the law. Lead by example.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Absolutely. Yes.
VENIREPERSON: I feel like that’s more of a moral thing than actually a thing for the legal system, though. That’s more of — we hold them more accountable, but the law should be the same for everyone across the board.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Can a cop go have a drink with some friends, get in a car and drive home? Does anybody think he or she can’t do it? Can we go have a cocktail with some friends?
Mr. Zertuche?
VENIREPERSON: Yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Did I pronounce that right?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Wow. All right. Mr. Zertuche, what do you think about drinking and driving?
VENIREPERSON: Gotta know your limit, what you’re supposed to drink.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Can you go to a friend’s house and have a barbecue, drink some beers, eat some food and still safely get in your car and come home?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What’s the difference between that and getting labeled a criminal driving while intoxicated?
VENIREPERSON: I was gonna say that if you think you have too much, don’t even drive.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had to make that judgment call for a friend and say, you know what, Bud. Let me have the keys.
VENIREPERSON: Yes, I have.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And there is a line, isn’t there?
VENIREPERSON: That is correct.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How many of y’all have at least encouraged your friend to give them your keys [sic] and just hang out at my house tonight or let me drive you home? Okay. The majority of us. Who hasn’t. VENIREPERSON: (Raises hand.) Sorry.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You’re living my mother’s life. Okay? My mother would go, I’m not gonna be around people like that.
VENIREPERSON: [Unintelligible], but mom wasn’t around.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Mom was good. We’ve got a couple other good ones. We’re about half and half.
VENIREPERSON: They always tell me that, though.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. well, the half that have, what makes you make that call as a human being? Mr. Zertuche.
VENIREPERSON: Again?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yeah, again. I’m gonna make you talk. What — what — What allows you as a human being, what makes you say tonight I’m gonna make that call for my good buddy?
VENIREPERSON: Just keep an eye on – If you’re having a party, just keep an eye on if they’re drinking. If they’re having too much to drink, stop their drinking, take their keys away and, you know, let ’em spend time there or just drive ’em home.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And that’s pretty normal at parties these days, is it not, unless you’re 18? Correct? Or 19. Well, that’s underage, right? Okay. Does anyone feel like it is just — it should be against the law to drink and drive, period? Does anyone feel like — Do you know what your own limit is? How about you, ma’am? You have not talked. Ms. King, do you know what your own limit is? I’m gonna go out with my friends from work, we’re gonna celebrate my promotion.
VENIREPERSON: I have a pretty good idea. I don’t have an exact number. I can drink three and I’m okay, but I know the rules.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so you know that if I — if I’m gonna tear it up tonight, are you gonna make plans for that?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so you’re gonna do that ahead of time?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Or at least have a friend that’s there to keep an eye on you?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Is that pretty standard these days?
VENIREPERSON: It is.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It kind of is, isn’t it? It’s not the way it was when I was a kid. I’m gonna be honest with you. It has changed. Correct? We’re all about the same age. Some of you are younger. Sorry. You’ve always lived in a responsible world. When I was young, it wasn’t responsible. But, yes, you get to a place, certainly at a certain age, where you know how much you can drink, correct, and safely drive or I need to go ahead and spend the night with my friends. Does everybody feel comfortable with their own way that they judge themselves, those of us that drink? If someone said that you were intoxicated after you had two drinks, would they be telling the truth or knowing that that is a fact and a correct fact?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And would you know that? In other words, if you had two drinks and you’re driving and you get charged with DWI, would you know that you were not drunk while driving while intoxicated?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How come?
VENIREPERSON: Just know what I’m capable of.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Does anybody feel uncomfortable with that concept, with the concept of drinking, knowing what your limit is and still driving safely? Everybody’s fine with that.
VENIREPERSON: Well, it’s a judgment call, right?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It is a judgment call.
VENIREPERSON: And you may get it right and you may not. So you do have to make the other arrangements. The only thing I worry about is the fact when you drink you don’t realize you’re out of control. So you do have to make sure you have somebody there that doesn’t drink.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Absolutely. Or somebody there that’s got an eye on you or that you made a prior plan. That’s what I talked with her about.
VENIREPERSON: And if it matters to y’all, I don’t drink at all. I don’t like the taste. I never have. So I’m kind of an oddball.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You’re not an oddball at all.
VENIREPERSON: Only one in my family, but anyway… Not that they’re drunks, but…
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You probably are gonna live to be a hundred versus the rest of us.
VENIREPERSON: Probably the opposite.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: But we’re gonna have more fun. Okay? No. Not at all. Okay. Let me get to some more things. Is there anything about — Ms. Miller, Number 1. You’re Juror Number 1. So the likelihood is that you are going to be on this jury unless you say something that either I freak out about, Nick freaks out about or the prosecutors freak out about or we strike you. Okay? So if you are sitting on this jury, is there anything that you can think of that I’ve not asked you or that Mr. Marcum has not asked you that we need to know about?
VENIREPERSON: Not that I can think of.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: No plans for Monday or Tuesday?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: I’d be shocked if we go into Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but you have no plans next week?
VENIREPERSON: Just work.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. We’ll weird things happen. People get sick. Would you like to be on this jury?
DEFENSE COUNSEL: If I’m chosen, that’s fine.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Either way?
VENIREPERSON: (Nods head up and down)
DEFENSE COUNSEL: All right. You have nothing– no questions of me, period?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Do you feel like you understand what beyond a reasonable doubt means?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And you understand that it’s the highest burden in all of the law?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And you understand it’s a constitutional burden?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And would you require Nick to prove that he was not intoxicated?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Who’s gonna have to prove to you that he was intoxicated while driving?
VENIREPERSON: The State.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay.
Mr. Crane, you are retired military?
VENIREPERSON: Six years Navy.

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Lockheed?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. You have sat on a criminal trial before.
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And was that here?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How long ago?
VENIREPERSON: Just over two years.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Oh, how fun for you. You’ve been here.
VENIREPERSON: That’s what I was thinking exactly. So you came — Was it a felony or misdemeanor?
VENIREPERSON: Felony.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: So you came, you sat out there?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It was a bunch of y’all?
VENIREPERSON: Oh, yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And so out of all those, usually 45 to 60 people, they reached out and snatched your reasonable self and put you over here and you sat on a jury?
VENIREPERSON: There were 72 of us, and yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: So what do you think your changes are? Seventy-two if you’re one, what are your chances in 16? And you’re number two.
VENIREPERSON: At this point pretty good.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Kind of what I’m thinking. What kind of a case was it you sat on before?
VENIREPERSON: He said/she said sexual assault.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Did y’all reach a verdict?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, we did.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Was it a not guilty or guilty?
VENIREPERSON: Guilty.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Did y’all also assess punishment?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What did y’all — Did y’all have a choice at probation or prison or was it the whole gamut or was it a smaller amount that you’re trying to decide?
VENIREPERSON: The choices were zero to 20, probation if everyone agrees, and up to a $10,000 fine.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And what did y’all ultimately assess?
VENIREPERSON: Fifteen years, no fine, no probation.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How was that in the jury room talking, dealing with the other people?
VENIREPERSON: I was the foreman, so it wasn’t a real fun time.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yeah. I knew you were the foreman. I was about to ask you that. You’ve got this foreman old school look.
VENIREPERSON: It was not —
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Since — since — In the past two years we have a lot more female foramens.
VENIREPERSON: Yeah. It wasn’t the best three days I’ve ever had.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yeah. It’s hardcore.
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Do you want to do this again?
VENIREPERSON: I will serve if I’m picked.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Is there anything that I have not asked you about that you think that we need to be aware of?
VENIREPERSON: No, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Anything about your kiddo that would affect you one-way or the other on a case like this?
VENIREPERSON: I hope he got up and went to work.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay.
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. I like that. All right. Thank you. Mr. Zertuche. I feel like I’m slottering it, but I’m not, am I? You also have sat on a jury. How long ago was that?
VENIREPERSON: I’d say probably six years.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Was it here in Tarrant County?
VENIREPERSON: Yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And was it a felony or misdemeanor?
VENIREPERSON: Misdemeanor.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What type of case?
VENIREPERSON: I can’t remember. It’s been a while.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Do you remember if y’all reached a verdict?

VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It was a hung jury?
VENIREPERSON: I don’t remember.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What happened?
VENIREPERSON: I don’t recall.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You just knew you came down here. Did you leave — Did you ultimately go and listen to evidence and make a decision?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, we did.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. You just don’t remember what it was?
VENIREPERSON: That’s correct.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Anything about the person that has had the prior DWI that you think one way or the other would affect you sitting on this jury?
VENIREPERSON: No, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Anything about you that is not reflected in the questionnaire that we need to know about?
VENIREPERSON: No, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Do you feel like you would be a fair and impartial juror?
VENIREPERSON: If I’m chosen.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Would you just look at the evidence for what it is?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Would you entitle — or give Nick the presumption of innocence? That he’s presumed innocent until they prove the opposite?
VENIREPERSON: Well, I would listen to the evidence.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Right. But he would be presumed innocent. He would start off innocent?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Thank you. You were Number 3. You said nothing scary, so you may get a stay. I don’t know. Anything else? No?
VENIREPERSON: That’s it.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: All right. Ms. Russell, you work for the City of Arlington?
VENIREPERSON: I do.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What do you do for them?
VENIREPERSON: Administrative secretary in the water department.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Oh, how fun. They also have a city prosecutor’s office. Anything about your sister and the issues with her, other than what you’ve already talked about, that we need to know about?
VENIREPERSON: Other than she thought she was treated unfairly.
THE REPORTER: Ma’am, you have to speak louder.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Would that have an impact on you as a juror in this case to the extent you would not be fair?
VENIREPERSON: I’m hoping no.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Do you know that — How many of y’all are just skeptical of government? Is anybody skeptical of government? You know it’s in our DNA, right? We had a revolution a long time ago. We’re Texans. Right? As a general rule we are skeptical of government, even when you work for the government, the water department. Right? And sometimes — I used to be a prosecutor — being in the government makes you more skeptical of them. Just like working in the medical field makes you more skeptical of lab tests. Right? That’s okay. All right? Because what it is it’s saying I’m gonna give him the presumption of innocence. That’s all it’s saying. I’m skeptical of government to the point that he gets to be presumed innocent. I’m not gonna assume that he drove around DWI. I’m gonna make them prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s called the constitution. Our founding fathers were very skeptical of government power and so they built a whole lot of safeguards to make sure that we don’t live in a police state. How many of y’all want to live in a police state? Does anybody know what that means? Who knows what a police state is? Tell me about it.
VENIREPERSON: I came from a communist country.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You’re Ms. — one, two —
VENIREPERSON: Callahan.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Callahan. You came from a communist country. Which country?
VENIREPERSON: Romania.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Romania is a communist country, or was.
VENIREPERSON: Was.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And it was a police state when it was a communist country?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Tell us what it’s like to live in a police state.
VENIREPERSON: You’re afraid.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: But why?
VENIREPERSON: Because they can arrest you and take you to jail.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And whatever the police officer says is just true, isn’t it?
VENIREPERSON: Yes, ma’am.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Can you — Is there a presumption of innocence?
VENIREPERSON: Not really.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: There’s actually a presumption of guilt.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: I mean, if a police officer says come with me, it’s — it’s done.
VENIREPERSON: Done deal.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How different is it to live in freedom here?
VENIREPERSON: You are presumed —
THE REPORTER: I’m sorry. I’m not understanding her.
VENIREPERSON: You are presumed innocent until they prove you guilty.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: How does that feel to live in that country? The rest of us have only lived in that. We were born, raised and probably take it for granted.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Tell us how it feels different?
VENIREPERSON: It’s great.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Like in what way?
VENIREPERSON: You are free to think and to do and obey the law. By obeying the law you are not in trouble.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And if a police officer pulls you over and takes you to jail, you at least can have a lawyer and end up with a jury trial and come in and make them prove it.
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Right? And there’s some feeling in you that makes that feel better and more free, doesn’t it?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: So we — None of us want to live in a police state. You’ve chosen to —
VENIREPERSON: No.
19 DEFENSE COUNSEL: — to come here. So being skeptical — I’ve done all that because you said I’m skeptical of government. And it’s okay to be skeptical of government. It is. What I’m looking for are the people who just say if a police officer said it, it’s true. If these young men, very nice young men, but they’re the government, say he’s guilty, then he’s guilty. Because that’s a police state. It really is. I’m looking for six citizens that will say I’m gonna be skeptical. I’m gonna sit here and I’m gonna make them prove it to me. And if they do, they do Nicolas Ramirez. I’m sorry. If they don’t, they don’t.
THE COURT: You have about six minutes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: But it’s a high burden. All right. And you feel like you can do that? Hold them to their burden?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: All right. Mr. Powell, we have talked to you. Ms. Johnson, we’ve talked to you. I would love to keep talking to you, but… Mr. Oakes, Ms. Miller. All right. Mr. Jones. There we go. We’ve not talked to you. I’m gonna move over here for a second. Have you ever served on a jury?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Is there anything about anything we’ve talked about that you need to say something because you’re gonna be on this jury if you don’t? Speak now or forever hold your peace, Mr. Jones.
VENIREPERSON: I mean, I believe that if he’s — This is my personal opinion. And just because — I guess I’m impartial because of kind of my – my dealings with officers and the way I’ve been treated. So I kind of have [sic] 100 percent faith in ’em. You know what I mean? So I’m down the middle with everything, though. So I’m — you know, they – they have — they’re gonna have to prove him, you know, guilty. And I stand in the middle. You know, they have to — they gonna have to bring the facts to say he was over the legal limit. That’s just how I feel. I mean…
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Well, I think what you’re saying is what is the law.
VENIREPERSON: Yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: So you’re still gonna be on the jury. And that’s a good thing. Because you said I stand in the middle. You said I stand in the middle. You’re saying — You said you’ve never had a bad experience with police.
VENIREPERSON: I’ve had a few.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. You’ve had bad experiences with police, but you can still listen to the evidence, and if he’s guilty, he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s where it is.
VENIREPERSON: And if he’s innocent —
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Right. Or if he’s just right up to beyond a reasonable doubt. You understand that?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: He could look guilty. Y’all get that? He can look guilty. You could think he’s guilty. You could say I think he’s guilty, not guilty. How would that happen? Let’s bother you, Ms. Wilson. How would it be that you would say I think that – which Mr. Ramirez is guilty, but I have to vote not guilty?
VENIREPERSON: Because of the evidence.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: In what way?
VENIREPERSON: Going off the facts.
VENIREPERSON: Okay. Can you imagine a situation where you think that he’s guilty but you don’t believe it beyond a reasonable doubt?
VENIREPERSON: Not really.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. Can someone else go there with me conceptually? You see how there’s a difference? I think he’s guilty. Because I probably think he’s guilty is not beyond a reasonable doubt.
VENIREPERSON: That’s profiling.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yeah. He’s probably guilty.
VENIREPERSON: You’re profiling.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay.
VENIREPERSON: You can’t profile people.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: It’s beyond a reasonable doubt, not he’s probably guilty. Does that make sense? Have you ever had a — Have you ever thought a boyfriend was cheating? Okay. And so until you knew beyond a reasonable doubt you might not have kicked him, you know, thrown him to the curb. Or maybe in personal life I think he cheats is enough. You see the difference? So I think or you’re probably is not the standard. It’s beyond a reasonable doubt. So if you finish this evidence, if you say all — the only place you are is Nick Ramirez is probably DWI, the verdict is what?
VENIREPERSON: Nothing.
VENIREPERSON: Not guilty.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Not guilty. It’s a weird rule for the courtroom. But it’s the way we keep the government in check, it’s the way we don’t have a police state. Do you wanna be on this jury, Ms. Wilson?
VENIREPERSON: If I was picked.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: You have anything that we have not talked about with you?
VENIREPERSON: No.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: What about Ms. Sanchez?
VENIREPERSON: Hi.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Hi. You haven’t been talking. You better talk quick. You got anything about your life experiences that we should have asked you? If they had just asked me that.
VENIREPERSON: I don’t think so.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Okay. You think you’d be a fair and impartial juror?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Judge the evidence for whatever it is?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: Would you give him the presumption of innocence?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: And make the government prove the case guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: We talked to you, you, you and I think the rest of you. Do y’all have any questions of me? Anybody that I skipped over? Well, it’s not — as the
prosecutor said, if we’re talking about DNA, we’re in trouble. This is a simple case to you and me. Of course, it’s not a simple case to the citizen accused. Yes, ma’am.
VENIREPERSON: I don’t think y’all will go past Tuesday, but there’s no way I can go to Friday.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: The only reason that was is because somebody got sick. I mean, you see what I’m saying? Weird stuff can happen. But you have something on Friday —
VENIREPERSON: Yes.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: — that would be a big problem?
VENIREPERSON: Yeah.
DEFENSE COUNSEL: I would be in shock if we were still going on Friday. I mean, it is a DWI, and there’s only so many witnesses that we can bring on DWI cases. Okay? Anybody else have any other questions or concerns? Because I would be concerned if I was going some place on Friday. Well, y’all have been wonderful. Thank you for talking to me as well as talking to the prosecutor.
THE COURT: Okay. Thank you.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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