Thursday, February 19, 2009

Upon further review...

...I still think we gave the right verdict.

On my way home last night, I drove by the crash site. It was dark and had been raining off and on, so I figured the conditions would be similar.

  • The curve before the convenience store absolutely played a role. The collision happened on a straightaway, but at 40mph she would have only been on that straight part for a fraction of a second.
  • The store is a lot closer to the intersection than I thought.
  • There are lights all around, but they are not powerful enough to illuminate the area.
What sealed it for me is that right between the store and the intersection, probably right on top of the collision, there was a guy standing on the curb, and I did not see him until he was about 10 feet from me. He was wearing a light-colored sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt, too. Since I was actively looking to gauge how well I would have seen someone in front of me and still didn't see him until 1/4th of a second before I passed him, I can totally believe the defendant never saw a thing.

No wonder the judge tells us not to go to the site while the trial is underway.

Okay, I'll lighten up on the jury duty posts :) I have a lot of comments to respond to anyway...


Jonathan said...

I would have assumed that a video shot through a car window of the place where the accident happened, in the same conditions, driving the speed limit would have been an obvious piece of evidence.

I'm curious what the legal rational would be for having you base your decision on people's description of conditions that you can easily experience for yourself?

Cheryl Carpenter said...

Now you understand why us trial lawyers can't stop thinking or talking about our cases. It's all consuming. We don't mind at all your posts about jury duty. Since I read all your posts about jury duty, I decided to read your other posts. I hope it's all a big scare and nothing else. It must be frightening. I love how the receptionist told you to have a nice weekend. Yeah, right.

The Man Version said...

Jonathan: We didn't have a video for whatever reason, but I forgot one thing we did have: about 80 photos taken maybe one second apart while driving through. They were entered into evidence en masse, and I noticed during deliberations that you got a similar video effect if you put them in a stack and did the flip-book thing.

No one else cared. Genius is never appreciated in it's own time :)

Anyway, it was that flip book that first made me think the curve in the road played a role.

As for the legal rationale, a lawyer could probably answer that better than I. But my guess is that both lawyers want to control your information and how it is presented. Setting us on our own journey of discovery might be begging for trouble. I wouldn't want to do that, if I was paid to win a case :) But that's just a guess.

The Man Version said...

Cheryl -- I didn't appreciate how that job can grip the mind. I remember when I read up on the JFK assassination and all the conspiracies, I was bitten by the desire to go to Dallas and check it out. Or when reading about the Mann Gulch fire in 1949, I wanted to go to Montana. (Still do, actually -- I hear it's gorgeous.)

Thanks for the wishes. I am confident everything will be fine after my surgery next month, but once in awhile my ancient animal instincts get all nervous. :)

Jonathan said...

You're probably right about the control issue. I was on a jury once on a trial of a guy who whacked off in his car while a woman had her 6 year old daughter walked by in a crosswalk.

The guy was middle eastern (this was pre-911), wealthy and very arrogant.

His wife said he was with her - not a particularly good witness, poor english, very meek.

We found him guilty based on the victim picking him out of a drivers' license picture lineup and positive ID of his car (big, dark mercedes and she got 5 of 7 digits of the license correct).

BUT - when we went into deliberation, someone asked "did you see that guy that looked like the defendant looking through the windows at the back of the courtroom?". I didn't but several other jurors did.

It seems plausible that the guy was covering for his brother or something, but we never saw evidence that had to do with that.

We had no ability as a jury to do other than find on the basis of the evidence - so we found him guilty.

Eric Pickett said...


Your case reminds me vaguely of what happened to Ronnie and me almost 20 years ago: I was riding in the passenger seat in a car with Ronnie, and we were going to meet you at some restaurant on Airport Road. We were turning left into the restaurant parking lot, when some SOB driving a jeep and going the opposite direction WITHOUT any headlights on at night in a rainstorm creams into the side of Ronnie's car, missing me by mere inches. Remember that? And then that SOB had the balls to sue Ronnie (or at least, his insurance company) for damages.

I remember going to trial some 3 or more years after that accident and having to make a sworn deposition about what happened. Did you get dragged into that too? I can't recall now.

I'll never forget the SOB's lawyer trying to make me out to be either a pathological liar, or that Ronnie and I had conspired and colluded by concocting a story right after the accident to make it look like it was all the SOB's fault, when we secretly knew it was really all Ronnie's fault. It made me truly hate lawyers after that point.

And I think the judge ruled against Ronnie, so his insurance company was screwed for some x number of dollars. Too bad. Where's the justice?

Anyway, I hope you are doing OK. I've been reading about your adventures with with the ugly "c" word. I hope everything goes smoothly, and hope you have a speedy recovery and that you're back to reasonably good health in no time! I definitely think humor is the best defense against this disease, so keep it up! I had my own battle with a (benign) form of skin cancer over 10 years ago, so I know what you mean be animal fears! I'm hoping all the best for you!