I spent the week in and out of a courtroom. Literally. It was about half and half, actually. We all know the pain of Jury Duty, and I used to think that worst role is to end up is as an alternate. You get to sit through everything, not talk about anything (ever) and then hope your compatriots make the right decision. There is only really one thing I could imagine being worse than that. Being the ONLY alternate. Yes, before the trial even began, the two of us alternates became one. Me. But I have changed my mind. It can be worse to deliberate than to “alternate.”
As we proceeded through the short trial (three witnesses), I gladly retreated to the Jury Assembly room upstairs to wait as the other twelve deliberated. It was a he said/she said case. The only real testimony was the “she said” so a decision hinged on the victim’s credibility.
As they rehashed all the facts over the next two days, I sat and read. By myself. The room had but one occupant. Me. I read Christopher Yuan’s new book, “Holy Sexuality and the Gospel.” I highly recommend it, by the way. You should pick up a copy to stretch your thinking about biblical anthropology, among other things.
Anyway, I went up and down the elevators 4-5 times in those two deliberation days. If the jury had a question, I had to be there to hear it and the answer. When they requested testimony be read back, I had to be there to hear it. When they were hung 8-4, I was back in the courtroom to watch the judge order them to not give up. Up and down. Up and down. But when I was up, oh wow…it was gloriously peaceful. Something I would not have experienced in the deliberation room. I could tell. So, I was finally glad to be an alternate. Oops, the alternate.
By the end of the process, the jury remained hung, 8-4. Not much flexibility. No one budged and the judge declared a mistrial. I was free, but exhausted. The commute to Inglewood was tiring and the pressure surprising. But I was grateful to have skipped the jury room deliberations and to read.
I came away looking forward to the day when justice will prevail. We have the best system of justice on the planet, but it is not perfect. But some day. A day is coming when the king born in Bethlehem will rule the planet with justice. And wisdom and grace, don’t forget those elements. I drove home on the 405 longing for the day when my Savior would judge and His righteousness would prevail.
And I was thankful that I didn’t have to be in that jury deliberation room. It wasn’t as exciting upstairs, but it was much more profitable. Other jurors said they’d wished I been in there with them, but I really didn’t miss it. Upstairs was much better for my soul. I guess God knew that and spared me those hours of haggling. I’m done for at least a year and am looking with a more steadfast resolve for the day The Judge will make all things right. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.