I was a juror on a civil trial for the past three days, and enjoyed the experience. It was a civil trial regarding a truck accident on a dirt road to a construction site. Was the property owner negligent in maintaining the road, and should thus be held liable for the cement truck that rolled over the edge, or was the accident more likely driver error?
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and in our initial vote, we voted 8-4 that he did not meet his burden of proof. Only nine of twelve jurors need agree in a California civil suit, so we then entered discussions and deliberations to convince the pro-plaintiff jurors. We convinced two of them, and found for the defendant by a vote of 10-2.
There were folks on the jury who dressed rather shabbily, who were construction people or truck drivers themselves, in jeans and sweatshirts, boots and baseball caps. That old saying about not judging a book by its cover was proven true, however. When discussions started, these folks showed impressive common sense and were articulate. The jury system relies on the common sense and fairness of the common man, and it usually works. It worked today, and I felt proud of my fellow jurors.
Serving on a jury was a rewarding experience. I recommend it.
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