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Jury duty, Part IV - The deliberation

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It was now time for us, the jury, to begin deliberation. But before that could start the judge had to give us some instructions on the applicable laws. He spent an hour going over the Connecticut motor vehicle laws, some of which went right over my head. I clearly remember thinking of all the years that must have been spent writing reams of legalese about every nuance of traffic rules and regulations. Surely a thankless job.

We were then charged with determining fault and damages, if any, consisting of actual and compensatory types. With an hour to go before closing time, we were ushered into the deliberation room to begin the process. It was a relief to finally be able to express opinions about the case. The first task was to determine fault and that went smoothly. We all agreed that the plaintiff had indeed been careless and had wrongfully cut off the plaintiff. By the end of the session, we had all decided that the plaintiff was 90% at fault, but that would be as far as we could go on that day.

We were called back into court and were summarily dismissed for the day. That meant having to take another day off from work to continue with the deliberation. Again, we were barred from discussing the case until we returned after the weekend.

The weekend passed uneventfully and Monday was a government holiday. I sporadically thought about the case, but I kept finding myself undecided about the proper damages.

On Tuesday we were once again back at court. The plaintiff was missing due to school, but the rest of the parties were present. The judge wanted to make sure that we made no inferences about the plaintiff's absence and we then found ourselves back in the deliberation room. The documents and our notes were still lying on the table. We took our seats and began our work. This day, however, was not to go as smoothly as the previous.

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