The verdict was returned in about an hour, the silence was palpable. The foreman rose and delivered the not guilty verdict, the courtroom erupted in cheers and tears. The female jurors gathered around Janet, her relatives and friends and hugged them and sobbed. We left the courtroom after congratulating her attorney, a practice of civility too often ignored these days. Frank said “like I told you, we never had a chance”. This case was too important to dismiss, a jury had to speak. The jury spoke loudly that day, Janet suffered insanity and blacked out, because of her abusive treatment at the hands of her husband. Was justice served that day? It didn’t seem like it to me at the time.
I took the loss hard. I was sure she was guilty and beat the system. However, on further reflection I realized that I was making the same assumption the public was making, that they knew more than the jury did. I had to apply my knowledge of our legal system and learn to accept and respect their decision. Upon further reflection and more than 43 years of experience trying murder and other felony cases and being on both sides of those cases, the lesson I learned from that trial stays with me every day. The attorney can make a difference, I can make a difference. If I didn’t believe it with all my heart I wouldn’t keep trying for all these years.