This is a true story, the names have not been changed to protect the negligent. The names have also not been mentioned This is a story of how we had a bullet fly through our aparment. At the time, we lived in Alameda, California, which can be described as “a sleepy island city frozen in time in the 1950s.” It’s a very cute little city, which, despite its proxmitiy to Oakland, is generally extremely peaceful and quiet.
Today is the sentencing for two of the three def…convicts from the trial I’ve droned on about. I decide to take the day off work and go watch the proceedings, for closure or whatever. Maybe curiosity? Probably closure. I am still pretty burned out and fairly depressed from the entire ordeal, so I figure I might as well see it through. Anyway, I show up 30 minutes before the sentencing is due to occur.
After 1 full day of deliberations, going home and sleeping on it, and then another half day of deliberating, we are finally ready to fill out the verdict notebook. In order to render the verdict, the foreman has to fill out a notebook of printed sheets of paper that is given to us. Each defendant has 2 sheets for each charge (one sheet that says we find them not guilty, and one sheet that says we find them guilty).
The first day of deliberations. The judge takes an hour to read us the jury instructions, which we also got a copy of in a binder… which is good, because we have to refer to them a LOT during the deliberation. So… we’re led upstairs to our jury room and locked inside, told that we’d be going out for lunch but until then we have privacy to deliberate. The first order of business is to pick a foreman, and that took us quite some time.
Today starts the closing arguments for the prosecution and for all defendants. You’d think lawyers would have better powerpoint skills. One of the powerpoint presentations (done by a public defender) is in black text on a white background, all caps. IT HAD LIST ITEMS LIKE THIS……. WHICH WAS REALLY VERY DISCONCERTING. In addition to all that…it has sounds. I’ve never seen a powerpoint with sounds before. There is a drumroll between slides (which sometimes got stuck looping which required turning down the volume).
Defendant number 3 is put on the stand by his lawyer. When he is called, a few of the other jurors and I look at each other in surprise, facial expressions basically saying “holy shit, is this the worst lawyer on this planet of Earth or what?” In case anyone didn’t know (I had only a vague idea of this), you cannot be made to testify at your own trial.
Reminiscent of my first experience with jury duty, today we sat around all day. We arrived at 9:30 like usual, and at 9:50 the bailiff told us that we’d be starting late at a little after 10. Come 11:00, we are finally called down to the courtroom. As we get started, the prosecution rests her case, at which point the judge informs us that he needs to handle some motions, and we are sent back upstairs while they do this.
Today an expert in ballistics was called to be a witness for the DA. So far she was the most interesting witness, because she was really smart. Because there were more casings than bullets recovered in this crime, a lot of time was spent covering how she was able to determine that two guns were used in this crime: a 9mm semiautomatic, most likely a Fabrique Nationale or a Smith & Wesson, and an Uzi type pistol.
Today we heard from an expert analyst at the company called Shotspotter. This company places microphones around a city above the roof lines of the houses, microphones which are always listening for what they call an ‘impulsive sound’ which is basically a gunshot sort of sound. Should the system hear an impulsive sound, it will record it (including the 4 seconds prior to the start of the event and 4 seconds after the event ends), use multiple sources around the event to triangulate the position of the shots, and notify the police automatically.