Jury Selection

I was "summoned" to jury duty in my current county of residence Tarrant and this is an evaluation of the process, what the potential trial was, and my critical observations and statements.

Setting the stage of the Summons

Why am I being summoned to a in person jury trial during an uptick in Covid-19 within my county.  On the date of appearance test positivity was 29.97%, vaccination rate was 56.8% of the eligible population and boosted population was 37.3% and the county transmission rate was HIGH (there is no level on the scale of community transmission higher).  For perspective this is the second highest point of infection in the county history since the virus began.  The peak numbers are from the initial Omicron infection wave of January 2022 that had a positivity rate of approximately 40+% for perspective.

Tarrant County Public Health advises to limit contact outside of your household and to wear a mask indoors in any public spaces (regardless of vaccination status, etc).  Adherence to these advisements is low to non-existent in my experience with less a compliance of my estimation of 5-10% ( I am included in that amount ).  Tarrant County itself was under it's 11th proclamation of state of emergency signed by Judge Whitley.  The information and procedures are in place enforcement and expectations are in abeyance.

What the fuck is going on.  This is not a safe environment to suddenly be in close contact with 70+ strangers with unknown and assumed lax precautions compared to myself 60 potential jurors + 10 or so court members (prosecution, defendant, witness, bailiff, judge, etc) individuals in a single room with little to no ventilation.  In Texas it gets hot and a courthouse is a secured building and as such the building is designed to lock court rooms, space is limited, there are no windows (if there were windows they would not open anyway) and ventilation was approved at 1950 - 1970 building construction levels i.e. extremely poor circulation because circulating hot air into a cold building means cooling it is expensive, uneven, and uncomfortable.

Again this is selection process and could have been done all online.  In fact some Texas counties do perform virtual jury duty Travis, an iPad with cellular capability is mailed to your residence and proceedings occur/selection and the iPad is mailed back afterwards or fines, etc occur.  It is a good and valid system for our current situation and going forward.

Why did I state that this could all have been done online?   The court is able to receive emails/text messages and emailed me several questionnaires which I was to fill out prior to arrival and I did.  This is all that should have been needed to arrive at decision.  If further questioning is needed simply send and read the responses.

The current system is antiquated and appropriated to warp the power dynamic against the juror, as in the juror is simply a tool and or stamp of approval and their input is marginalized as much as possible.  The justice system can be thought of as a huge boulder rolling down a hill on to you.  Stopping it and pushing it back up the hill is all but impossible and or even inconceivable to the singular person.  The system is built for you to agree, comply, obey, and if you do not the probability is you will be ground to bits and die.

Day 1 Summons

The first day of summons was a complete waste of time as in the judge insisted on attempting to obtain each summoned juror to report and simply was waiting until the jurors reported.  Big surprise 2 issued defers which were accepted and 1 never showed up and the judge decided that sending a deputy to issue a warrant to their door and force a summons went unanswered however this process consumed the entire day 8 hours.  Why, why, why???  Again this would not have mattered in a virtual summons.  Point 1, if someone is unable to attend what does dragging them into court to be most likely unselected obviously they are not available/reliable and Point 2 1 person out of a potential 60 still leaves you 98% of the available jurors to select from.  Take what you have and proceed as in you only need 20% of the original summoned to get 12 jurors, ok taking into account the defers gives you needing 21% of the present and available to get 12.  The judge's insistence on obedience to a summons wasted 57+ peoples time for an entire day for a 1% change.  Statistics, math, and probabilities are/were not this courts strengths.

Day 2 Summons

First part the prosecution begins the questioning and simple explanation of some case information.  This is a criminal case involving accusations of rape+sexual abuse against a child under 14.

Key points revealed by Prosecution questioning

  • There is only 1 witness which is also the victim and she is a child
  • There is no physical or biological evidence
  • The events supposedly took place over an extended period (approximately a year and half), but the victim does not have precise dates and or times
  • There are literally 2 pages of charges ranging from rape to abuse i.e. 15 or so charges and all are under consideration
  • The reporting of the events were reported to the mother at a much later time than occurred and then she reported to authorities and victim then started recounting to authorities

Prosecution was helmed by a slick Armie Hammer man tall, athletic, blondish/gray hair, an expensive fitted suit.  From appearance and mannerisms the prosecutor reminded me of a used car salesman.  This is a man I would not trust or like i.e. he is used to getting his way in life and is not above using tricks, charm and or force to make this happen.  He was assisted by an assistant prosecutor who was a woman that did not speak, but seemed to provide him with opportune notes and continuously made notes to read and or give to him.  She in my opinion was strategizing and he was the point salesman on the deal prosecution was selling to the potential jurors.

Key points revealed by Defense questioning

  • The timelines are vague and large enough that alibis can be provided for specific times, but to account for every location someone is for over a year and half is a detail no one but a highly visible tracked public official would be able to provide (US President comes to mind).
  • The defendant has been waiting for over 3 years for the trial and the events took place over 5 years ago
  • There is no physical or biological evidence
  • The victim is not a family member of the defendant
  • There are so many charges because the prosecution is trying to create a cloud of uncertainty to negotiate a conviction of at least something must be happened by volume of charges and degrees
  • Motivation for lying by victim and victims mother to lie (Something was definitely hinted at. ¬†My theory is mother was possibly having affair with defendant?)
  • Defendant was married (divorced since charged), but ex wife is testifying I assume for corroborating alibi
  • Defendant has no money is using court appointed public defenders
  • Defendant served in military, has 2 children, army veteran (supposed to forget all this because of objection like that fucking works, once you hear/see it)

Defense attorneys were two randomly selected attorneys of over retirement age possibly called in to service by covid backlog?  Lead defense attorney was ex prosecutor for Tarrant County and now defense attorney although he must have been over 70 by age and cases listed tried, other defense attorney only made notes and passed to lead.  Both were most likely over 70 and had older poorer suits.

The defendant himself was not doing himself any favors a white guy of average build wearing a suit, but his shaved face was not sharp i.e. he most likely needed to use a sharper razor to trim the area around his mouth distinctly had the impression of a goatee 5 o`clock shadow.   As he did not do this my assumption was he is in custody now and unable to gain access to a sharp enough razor to shave before trial.  Other points was his off putting pout and or faked expression.  His neutral or poker face was not good.  In general he gave the general impression of doubt and insincerity.

Two things I would demanded if I was in his position.  Court appointed attorneys to bring me a sharp razor to touch up and fix my shaving before court everyday and wear a mask because he was unable to remain emotionless.  Now he may have been told to not wear a mask by judge, attorneys but I would have forced the issue as it hides the expression and could make jurors biased well he is already getting judged by the jurors by his appearance and would have been improved by only showing his eyes as much as possible because his mouth and rest of face were giving off less than stellar vibes.  Oh the judgement of masking was happening on all sides as myself and and potential jurors that wore masks (less than 5) were not selected.

Concluding here that attorneys understand that holding out in the face of the majority (masking) under uncomfortable situations without complaint and focusing on rational science arguments were not going to be jurors to keep and or manipulate is my opinion.

If the judge demanded no mask use for defendant I would use the Tarrant County statistics I cited above on Covid-19 to ask for new judge due to lack of impartiality and rationality and get case delayed again as in the longer the case is delayed the less strong it gets in my opinion.

Selection Process

Jury selection is terrible.  People using it as free group therapy ( talking about personal stuff and crying etc ).  You are allowed to raise issues and talk in private this was stated beforehand and during questioning, I myself took advantage of this to supply my Covid-19 excusal argument (which was accepted).  Each breakdown makes the process take longer and prompted others to chime in and tell their own personal stories to complete strangers.

Both sides lawyers were looking for guaranteed votes and people that are predictable as in give the answer  to any question they ask or give and answer and then in a followup change what they had originally stated i.e. easily persuadable and predictable.

Give an answer outside scope out, unpredictable out, clear answer that is thought out for anticipation of their efforts to persuade out.  Additionally if your info doesn't match their expectation of what you should be out.  This should have all been virtual.

During selection it was pointed out that one of the potential jurors was a surgeon and he was not wearing a mask.  During a break I confronted him with the above statistics and chided him for not setting an example.  His defeated response was you can't force people to wear masks with a shrug.  First he could be operating on someone tomorrow and have been exposed to Covid-19 and spread it to them in the operating room, second he should be going above the recommendations as a leading medical professional for others to observe and understand the seriousness of this pandemic.

The willful ignorance of documented and recommended steps is how power bends you to their perception of how you should be behave and wants to force you to accept reality on their terms.  With the documented positivity, recommendations, and health facts in place it is an exceptionally clear actions speak louder than words what is happening and unsurprisingly the majority of people follow actions they think are deemed socially acceptable i.e. societal inertia.  Fucking ridiculous.

The case itself was accusation of under 14 rape of a child on multiple times, but they had no evidence only 1 eyewitness/victim ( a young child ) and no definite timelines.  I would consider it a weak case but the jury that was picked was biased to convict it and the defendant was using free counsel and you get what you pay for.

Prediction

Defendant will be found guilty and sentenced to major or mid charges and be placed in prison for 20+ years.

Actual Results

Case was resolved with Guilty; 40 yrs, so right on prediction wrong on amount of time to be served.

Case Details

Court Defendant Charge Prosecutors Investigators Defense
Aux A Winkler (1614611) Sex Abuse of Child Continuous U/14 Lucas Allan, Sarah Brown James Desmarais, Laura Flores George Mackey, Eloy Sepulveda