Appreciation for our judicial system

Editor:

I would like to share with your readers one of the most fascinating events I was able to participate in. I was summoned to appear for jury duty in the court of the Honorable Timothy Wright. Unlike many people I was excited, as I had never been on a jury.

I reported as required, and the people at the courthouse were all so friendly and courteous. After a few basic questions, we were sent to the courtroom. All these things were done observing COVID-19 precautions and social distancing. Everyone wore masks.

Judge Wright greeted us and praised us for appearing. Both attorneys were courteous, and also thanked us for being there. Their questions were thorough, probing and careful to not ask personal details, but getting the information they needed to be able to decide if we were a good candidate to sit on the jury.

The next day nine jurors assembled in the “jury room.” Several times the jury was excused to the jury room for a short break, and when we returned the entire court was standing waiting for the jury to enter and be seated. At one point Judge Wright explained that the court was standing in respect for us!

The prosecuting attorney presented their case first, with only two witnesses; we were taken step by step through the evidence. The arresting officer was very thorough, calm and able to explain the steps of how and why his reactions, observations and experience led to the arrest of the defendant.

The second witness was a forensic scientist. He took us through the whole lab process in a manner that gave us every confidence that the test results were correct.

The defense did not present any witnesses, so we went straight to closing arguments.

The jury was led back into the jury room where we began our deliberations. Some of the charges were easily decided, others were not. One very sharp eyed juror noticed in one of the pictures submitted into evidence a very interesting piece of information that gave us all a clue about the situation at the time of the arrest.

We finally reached a verdict. When everything was done, Judge Wright again thanked the jurors for their service and asked us to wait in the jury room so he could thank us personally. After three days of jury duty, I concluded that it was one of the most fascinating experiences I had ever had. I have an even deeper appreciation of our judicial system, the people involved, and the care they were willing to go to provide justice to the victim and the defendant. Thank you to all of the court staff, you made a difficult job worthwhile.

Peri Cline, Star Valley

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