The questioning of the potential jurors started with the assistant district attorney Jeff Harwood. I think this must have been his 1st trial since the analogy to get things started was almost funny.
He was trying to get us to understand that what the judge says is law is law and we are to abide by that no matter what we think. So he said – this table (and tapped the table) – if the judge says it is a chair you have to treat it as a chair. – HUH!!!??? He even apologized it was a stretch but it was so poor we couldn’t even laugh at it.
Mr. Harwood also apologized for not memorizing the seating chart and calling us by our names. He made several excuses including a long holiday break and not enough coffee. And this dude is a professional? Hardly.
He stumbled around for a while and then it was the defense attorney’s turn – Josh Toloni. Now thinking about it, it was like we were on trial with the way he was firing questions at us and the route he took, to make his evaluations.
At the beginning Judge Kelly told us that either attorney or he could dismiss any of us without giving a reason. This guy said he was going to ask us questions to help him and the other attorney decide which one of us to “THROW OFF”. Wow that is classy talk but I guess to be expected from a public defender. .
One good thing he took the time and effort to memorize the chart, which gives him positive points but not enough to overcome what was coming.
1st was did we know that CO spends more on prisons than on education. Why did we think that? He got all sorts of answers. Then he went on to the death penalty, even tho’ this was not a death penalty case.
Mr. Pepper is African American and so the next fact was - did we know that 20% of the prisoners in CO are of the same race with only 4% of the population being the same. Why did we think that was? There were all sorts of answers like racial profiling, lack of education etc., But then one woman nailed it – she asked him “Why is this an issue? I though we are all people and what does race matter? It seems that in the last year that is all we have heard.” If we could have stood an applauded her, we would have.
Some of the things he asked me were to tell him about the 2 Crimestopper programs I help to start in NM. Next - why there were so many prisoners in this country as compared to other countries? My answer was “lack of respect for the law. There is nothing to deter them from going to jail when prisons are like country clubs. I like the sheriff that makes his prisoners wear pink and that all prisoners should help to grow their food and if they don’t grow it or raise it, they don’t eat it.” When I got done he said, “ You scare me Mrs. Sanchez”. Oh yippeee.!!!!!!!
He was questioning other people too but he came back to me again and asked about the % of African Americans in jail. My reply was WHY and he said that is what I am asking you. SO I said I have no idea, since I have not walked in those shoes.
When his time was up, they had an off the record, whispering meeting with Judge Kelly. Everyone around me kept hearing Mrs. Sanchez; Mrs. Sanchez – so we knew I was going. The man next to me told me not to be jumping up and down as I left. LOL
This was the first time I have been called as a juror. I believe in the system, but no wonder lawyers are regarded like they are. Sleazy manipulators.
But when all is said and done, he had every right to be scared of me, because after reading the article I would not have even needed to get out of the chair to find him guilty.
The question that haunts me tho’ is – if he was on parole – he had been found guilty of something else. Then he murdered 2 people and put on trail found guilty, sentenced and now they are trying him for the escape. Huh?? Why? What a waste? Guess it boosts the district attorneys numbers and wins. And they wonder why the state is poor.
Will I be anxious to be called again? Ahhh NO