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Jury duty, Part III - The testimonies

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The testimonial phase of the trial took 3 days to complete. There is certainly a stark difference between going to work and going to the court as jury. The proceedings start relatively late in the day, lunch time is never shortened or delayed and the sessions end promptly at 4:45. The wheels of justice move, but at a much slower rate than in the civilian world. I often thought that if the court outsourced the trials to private companies, we would have been done with the case in 4 hours and not the 4 days that it took.

I don’t exactly recall the order by which the witnesses were called, but here’s a summary of their testimonies:

  • The defendant testified that she did nose out in the plaintiff’s lane, but barely more than a foot. In her opinion, the defendant was going too fast or was distracted, and therefore was unable to avoid an otherwise avoidable accident. Her testimony was basically an admittance of not yielding the right of way.
  • The policeman on the scene testified that he recalled the accident, but his testimony added little in favor of either side. The defense lawyer tried to elicit a response confirming the high speed of the plaintiff using the laws of physics applied to skid marks and weight and velocity, but the cop claimed no knowledge of the relevant formula.
  • The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that he had observed some limitation of movement and some spine irregularity. His testimony was inconclusive, at least to me.
  • The plaintiff testified going through the ordeal of the accident. She complained of constant pain and frequent sharp pains that interfered with her daily routine as well as prevented her form fully enjoying life. Her testimony turned emotional in a couple of occasions. I believed that she had some pain but not at the level she was testifying to.
  • The defense produced a physician of their own that gave us a detailed tour of the X-Rays and the MRI images of the plaintiff, concluding that degeneration was present in the plaintiff's spine, and no damages were caused by the accident. His testimony was believable as far as proving that the plaintiff was not physically harmed in the accident.
  • The defendant's husband who actually witnessed the accident from the outside tried his best to support his wife's position by asserting that the plaintiff was driving too fast, but basically admitted that the plaintiff's car was visible as it approached the defendant.
  • Finally the driver who had been rear ended by the defendant as the result of the collision, a morose and grumpy woman, testified that the plaintiff's car was visible for a fair amount of time.

During the testimonies I had no emotional reaction to any of the witnesses, save the last witness. Her dress and demeanor was one of upper-class society. Her attitude however reeked of trashy personality. Two witnesses also noted that just after the accident she was using loud vulgar language towards the plaintiff. Thankfully she wasn't on trial, otherwise I would have decided against her right then and there.

The trial phase was now over and it was almost time to deliberate.

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