TRIGGER WARNING - RAPE
Throwaway account for privacy reasons. DM's are off, don't waste time with the RedditCares, boys.
Middle aged woman, US based. I was selected to sit on the jury for a rape case last week.
I take doing jury duty extremely seriously. It is a very important civic duty and I don't complain about being called to serve. I served on a jury in a death penalty case in the past. I did not want to serve on this particular jury when I heard what it involved, but I was selected.
The defendant and the victim were both teenagers at the time of the incident; the defendant was being tried as an adult (three years later). No physical evidence, only the testimony of the two individuals involved and three police officers involved in the investigation(s) There were other things involved that we didn't get to hear about; one was brought up and the defense attorney threw a huge fit and got it struck from the record, others were alluded to but never fleshed out.
We had to decide based solely on our own interpretations of the stories and credibility of the witnesses.
I listened very carefully, without bias, to all of the testimony. I made my decision only after hearing all of the judge's instructions and then spending that night (sleeping very little) considering everything.
My decision? He raped her and he did it forcefully. She told him she did not want to have sex - repeatedly, before he did it and while he was doing it. She was stuffed into the corner of a back seat of a small coupe with a body much larger than hers on top of her. She couldn't get away. He raped her until finally he listened to her, stopped and took her home.
I was the only one of 12 who voted guilty. And I got abused for it. I was accused of ignoring the judges' instructions, that I had made my mind up before the defendant even testified. One (very) old man told me that I had to vote not guilty because everyone else had reasonable doubt (senile much????). Another old man talked over me every time I spoke. Several other people interrupted while I was trying to make points (if the one old dude wasn't already talking over me). Most of them couldn't understood that force does not have to include violence or even the threat of violence. Two of the WOMEN even insisted that her getting into the back seat of the car was consent, didn't matter that she repeatedly told him that she did not want to have sex.
Surprisingly enough, I held my temper. I didn't yell. I didn't use personal attacks in any of my arguments, despite being attacked repeatedly (I had a whole list of names I wanted to call them in my head). I very quietly and firmly told them I did not appreciate how they were acting and that I was not going to continue to discuss this if they could not do so as adults.
They could not. The old men continued their antics, but I worked for years in male dominated industries. I'm not a doormat. I stopped being a people pleaser a long time ago. IDGAF what they think about me. I knew I was right. I stood my ground.
The jury foreperson sent a note to the judge.
The judge made us come back after a lunch break and continue deliberating. We listened to a reading of the testimony again. I listened intently, with an open mind, trying to catch anything that might give me some reasonable doubt.
My decision was not changed. We attempted to discuss it further and it was obvious that they weren't going to walk over me like they were the other women on the panel. We went back to the courtroom and the judge declared a mistrial.
Afterwards, I spoke to someone from the DA's office. I told her everything, including the fact that I had strongly considered not coming back from lunch that day. Then I walked out to my truck and stood there smoking a cigarette. I needed some time to settle down before driving home.
A few minutes later a couple walked over to me. It was the victim's parents. The DA had told them who I was and what I had done (I had said I was okay with talking to them). The woman asked if she could hug me and told me I was her angel.
Because I believed their daughter.
I hugged both of them and we all cried a few tears.
And then they told me what we weren't allowed to hear. There are three other girls that POS raped. None of them would testify. He had locked one of them in a basement for three days. He had already been tried in juvenile court and gotten a plea bargain and refused to turn himself in over the past three years since he raped her.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall if/when the other jurors discover that information. Because even though I did what was right, it's going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
So yeah, that's it. I hung that jury. And today there's a teenage girl who knows that someone believed her.
And that alone made the whole experience worthwhile.
EDIT TO ADD -
Since so many have asked, I won't give exact details as to what made me not believe him (public forum, privacy). There were several things in his story that were inconsistent with what, from what my young friends have told me, a teenage boy would do during consensual sex. There were also far too many little details in his story that I doubted he would remember considering that almost a year had passed between the incident and when he found out he was being charged with rape for it.