JWG (jwg) wrote,

The early stages of the trial (with some digressions)

As I started to describe in this posting I was a juror on a homicide trial in 1992.

When the trial started we were told that we would meet in the mornings only and we could go back to work in the afternoon. I was happy about this since our Applied Research group at Bull was in the middle of the first version of our software inspection system that was built using a U Illinois groupware toolkit and I was the project manager / semi-chief architect.

One of the first things they did was to take us on a bus tour of several locations including the site of the crime. Seeing the site was not new for me. For a good portion of 1970 - 1984 when I was working on Multics with our offices in 575 Technology Square almost every day we went to Newtowne Variety, among other things a sub shop, to get lunch. Our trip was through the middle of the Newtowne Court housing project from Portland Street to Windsor Street and thus we passed the future scene of the crime every day. Later in the trial, one of the witnesses was one of the guys who worked in the sub shop. I don't know why he was included - he didn't see the crime and the store was closed at the time anyway. (Newtowne was the original name of Cambridge in ~1640).

The witnesses were primarily a number of police officers involved in the arrests and subsequent investigations, some experts, and a various neighborhood individuals who had seen part of the crime or who had encountered some of the perps earlier during the day. Since this was a trial of several defendants who each had his own lawyer, there were an excessive number of side-bars as each of them had something to deal with. One of the defense attorneys was Robert George who had made quite a name for himself taking on high-profile cases - he is currently defending Christa Worthington's accused murderer, a big case on Cape Cod.

After about a week and half of the trial the judge said it was going too slow and the lawyers didn't need additional time so we became all-day jurors. One of the sixteen jurors had some personal problems with illness at home; she was excused and we were down to 15.

During this trial, as in many others, we were not allowed to take notes so there was a lot to remember. During deliberation they brought in many exhibits but we couldn't hear earlier testimony since the court steno hadn't transcribed the notes.
Tags: trial

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