I hope you are surviving Quarantine/ Social Distancing, which is best for society. I don’t usually mind staying inside, because I can be such a homebody. But even for myself, I’m going stir crazy. I was selected for the special grand jury during this time, which helped me to get some fresh air.
A grand jury votes on whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. People can’t decide they don’t like someone one day and then accuse them of murder. Grand juries also approve subpoenas and return of subpoenas. Lawyers can’t collect whatever personal information they would like for their case. Illinois closed courthouses and the petit juries. However, grand juries continued to show up to the courthouses.
Every American has a right to a speedy trial, so each lawyer is allowed 30 days to indict a suspect before the suspect is released. Therefore, the government would need to suspend that right in order for our special grand jury to be relinquished of our duties, or we were all impacted by the pandemic.
Guess which event happened? Two weeks into my 5 weeks, I get a call from the office. One of the witnesses tested positive for corona virus. At the time of the witness’ testimony, the jurors were stuck in a small room, probably half a foot part from each other. It happened to be our last day in the that room too; We were moved to a big courtroom the next day.
Did I mind coming into court?
No, I did not. I respect every person’s right, and honestly, if someone was falsely arrested, I want them to be released in a timely manner. I don’t want them to be waiting for their fate forever.
On the other hand, those that deserve to be charged with a crime, they need to be put in a jail cell ASAP. I’m lucky that the cases I typically heard were fraud, unlawful use of a gun or narcotics. However, there was a regular grand jury, who would hear cases about murder, battery and child abuse.
There is so much crime in Cook County. Sometimes, the regular grand jury was backed up with cases, so the States Attorney presented to us those violent cases. You won’t believe how sad the cases were.
THOSE ASSHOLES NEED TO GO AWAY.
Every juror understood the value to holding the special grand jury. We showed up ready to listen to the States Attorney, we were all cordial with one another and came with a positive attitude. We saw each other every day, and we were becoming a solid group of friends.
I showed up to court with an open mind and sense of purpose, because I enjoyed what I was doing and seeing these people. We shared so many laughs together. Although I’ll probably won’t see them again, we are bonded by this memory now.