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I don't get it. If the death penalty was a possible legal outcome based on the law, then excluding someone opposed to imposing it seems entirely logical to me.

You get your summons for jury duty. Not everyone shows up, but you do. You show up at the courthouse on the appointed date and are shown into a room with a passle of people like yourself.

At this point you are all referred to as prospective jurors.

You are called to a courtroom stand and one at a time, are subjected to a process called “voire dire”, a french term that literally means “to see, to speak”. This is a time when both the defense team and prosecuting team get to whittle down the jury pool, getting rid of those jurors who they think will be prejudicial to their case.

You as a prospective juror, at this point, don’t even know what the case is going to be about, but the lawyers get to ask you questions.

A defense attorney may ask you something like “Are you in favor of the death penalty”, and you say “Fry the b$&&#%ds”.

Each team gets to eliminate a certain number of prospective jurors, and when the defense team (which is going to bat for a man charged with murder) reads the list of projective jurors that they wish to eliminate from the jury pool, lo and behold, the name “bighairymike” figures prominently.

And conversely, prospective juror #15 was a little old lady who was asked the same question by the prosecution team and answered “Oh no, I am opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances” and she was eliminated from the jury pool as well.

And that’s the process by which the jury pool is whittled down. The attorneys can even eliminate you if they don’t like the way your hair is parted. In fact, when they read the names of rejected jurors, they don’t have to give any reasons at all.

Defense gets to eliminate 3 (or 4 or 5), and so does the prosection. Each team is trying to seat a jury that will be sympathetic to their side of the story that they intend to present.

At least that’s how I remember the three times I served on juries.

A story………… in 2009 I flew out to CO to visit my sister who lives there. She had just bought a cabin up in the mountains a few years before,and became friends with the couple who sold her the cabin.

Anyway, the woman’s husband had died about a month before my visit and my sis wanted to visit her to see how she was doing….. would I like to come along?

“And oh, by the way,” she said, “this woman was juror #1 in the Timothy McVey trial…..”

Hell yes, I want to come along!

Anyway, the woman was more than gracious, and the very model of the sweet little old lady. Sharp, funny, and a cross word never came out of her mouth during our visit.

Toward the end of our time together, the subject of the trial came up, and how much of a disruption it had been in her life. I finally asked the question I’d been thinking about since I’d walked through her front door….

“What was he like?”

She only said a few words about McVey in answer to my question, but I’ll always remember what she said last:

“That boy needed to die.”
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