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October 20, 2018

Lessons Learned as a Juror, For the Young Man

I served on a jury earlier this month. It was an eye-opener to me. So many decisions are made as one grows up, the odds of making a wrong turn are great. Each bad turn can lead to another; or to repentance and a better direction. "There, but for the grace of God go I." Given this experience, I thought I'd write down some of my thoughts, first for the young man. Later for the young woman.
  • Having sex with someone who is inebriated is rape (assuming no prior valid informed consent for the sake of this article). An inebriated person cannot give informed consent. If a female's judgment is impaired in any way, she cannot give informed consent. If you think she gave consent, you better think again.
    • The penalty for rape can be life imprisonment.
  • If a male has sex with someone who is inebriated or who can claim to be so, she can claim she didn't give consent to the sex.
    • In fact, that person can claim rape even if she wasn't inebriated. Unless there is testimony or video that the jury believes, you can be (justly or unjustly) convicted of rape.
  • You don't realize how much DNA and other evidence you leave behind.
    • A condom will not conceal all evidence, particularly not even all DNA evidence.
  • If you run from the cops, you will get caught. Perhaps later.
    • Running from the cops makes you look guilty of more than you may be guilty of.
  • Being inebriated can cause you to make mistakes and get caught doing stuff that you would not get caught doing if sober.
  • You are more likely to get noticed by cops and pulled over after dark.
  • Certain evidence for your defense such as cell phone records are only kept by the phone companies for 18 months.
    • You may need those records for your defense for longer than that.
    • Evidence for your conviction, however, is kept around for what would seem like a sufficiently long time.
    • This will not work out in your favor.
  • There are cameras everywhere. There are eye witnesses everywhere.
    • Witnesses are unreliable, but that will not work to your advantage.
  • The jury will not believe your explanation. It will sound fantastical to them. Imagine the people in the jury. Do you think any of them have ever been in your situation? Not likely.
  • Public Defenders (state provided attorneys) can be surprisingly bad at their job. While they can also be surprisingly good, and they can be better than private attorneys due to the number of cases they handle (lots of experience) and their knowledge of the juries, of the local law enforcement, of the prosecutors, and of the judges, the big problem is their backlog of work. Their heavy caseload limits the time they can spend on your case.
  • The GBI (or your state bureau of investigation), prosecuting attorneys, law enforcement and DAs have limited funds and will therefore not do every test and collect everything possible. Nevertheless, they will try to win their case.
    • “About 90 percent of the cases end with a plea bargain, and of those cases going to trial, about 90 percent end in a guilty verdict,” (Something I found on the internet -- sorry, I'm quoting this without attribution.)
    • "In the United States, the federal court system, the conviction rose from approximately 75 percent to approximately 85% between 1972 and 1992. For 2012, the US Department of Justice reported a 93% conviction rate. The conviction rate is also high in U.S. state courts. Coughlan writes, "In recent years, the conviction rate has averaged approximately 84% in Texas, 82% in California, 72% in New York, 67% in North Carolina, and 59% in Florida." Wikipedia


If you are a defendant in a criminal case, don't think you'll fare well with a jury. Don't make up a story. Plead guilty, repent, beg for forgiveness, and throw yourself on the mercy of the court.

I don't believe young men realize what constitutes rape; nor do they realize how severe the penalty is. Likewise for any list of crimes. Perhaps that should be taught in school: crime and punishment.

For a biblical perspective on this, consider how this comes about and grows: "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." (James 1:14-15, ESV)

Yet, even if one were to make some big mistakes, he can still have forgiveness from God, salvation and eternal life.

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
  • If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
  • For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NKJV)
  • So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
Yes, it's that simple. You can feel hope once again. You can feel love once again.

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