Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My life, where truth is stranger than fiction....

In Trial Advocacy class we are working on voir dire this week. This is important because we have to bring an "outside person" to class so that there will be enough people on the "jury" to make it interesting. If you bring a law student, they have to either be who they were before law school or use a made-up persona. My friend and I both needed someone, so I went to hers tonight and she's coming to mine tomorrow. OK, now you have the important background.

The case we're doing for our criminal trial this quarter is a self-defense case, a woman who murdered her (maybe) abusive, (maybe) alcoholic husband and who may herself have been having a (maybe) affair. Anyway, obviously voir dire covered the following issues in depth:

Domestic violence
Guns/Attitudes about guns

Strangely, I hadn't thought much of this when I walked in all prepared to use my "before law school" self to answer questions. I was Juror #4.

"Do any of you own a gun?" That's a yes for Juror #4!

"Have any of you been the victim of domestic violence?" Another yes for Juror #4!

"Have any of you ever been effected by adultery in your marriage or intimate relationships?" Yup, me again!

"Do any of you have strong beliefs about gun ownership?" OOOOHHHH, pick me! Pick me!

"Does anyone have experience being intimidated or abused by someone under the influence of alcohol?" Well, duh!

Soooooo, basically, using my real life from before law school, I was the Problem Juror. In some aspects though I felt like the only real person. I mean, this is the TVPNM, so I guess I expect (generally) to be the only person in any given room who's a gun owner, but it was weird to have to answer all these personal questions -- it kind of made me feel very adult or something to be the only one in the room with any apparent back history in terms of these issues.

Also, just a tip. If you are a (mock)lawyer, and you're doing voir dire, and someone tells you that their job is "Air Force officer," the appropriate response is probably not "Oh, how do you like it?" If you're going to ask every other person what their job entails, why not me? How else will you find out that my Air Force job is very much like being a prosecutor, that I impose military punishment on people who I have determined are in violation of military law, and that I'm not very defense friendly (in general)? Huh...perhaps a question or two would be in order. But, to be fair, time was very limited and everyone was ready to go. I just was sensitive to it because it happened last year too where people asked what I did and when I said "Air Force officer" they just went "Oh OK" but then asked the person who said "Student" like 400 questions about their major and coursework and stuff. I wonder how many people think that "military officer" is a COMPLETE job description? Like, all military officers just sit behind desks doing the exact same thing with no differentiation whatsoever. I know I'm overly sensitive about this because I grew up in the military and have never NOT known it, but it's always kind of shocking to me how little the general public knows about it.
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