I am so proud of my city this week. They prosecuted an assault domestic violence case even though the lady attacked would not participate and did not speak English.
This Tuesday I reported for Jury Duty. The trial I was chosen for was where a man hit his live in girlfriend (who was 4 months pregnant at the time) in the face several times and pushed on the baby.
The young lady involved was so afraid that it took her brother later that day to get her to call the police. He had come to get her for a family celebration of his daughter’s baptism. She was hiding in her bed under the covers. When he saw what had happened he made her call 911.
During the trial she was called as a witness. She spoke very limited English, so through a Spanish interpreter we heard her say many times she did not remember. As a good jury, I knew this was going to be hard to convict him if she would not say he did it. No one else who saw it stepped forward to testify either. I do believe there is a cultural fear at work here and perhaps they were not legally in the United States. If that was true then I am even more proud of my city for prosecuting him on this charge.
Then the 911 tape was brought out as evidence. We were taken out of the court so they could talk about admitting this and let her hear the tape. They wanted her to confirm that it was her voice. When we returned, she confirmed it was her and then we got to hear it.
On the tape, we heard the 911 operator in English ask the questions, the 911 Spanish interpreter moving between her and the operator. She told them her address and that her boyfriend had hit her in the face. I had the ah-ha moment that I could now say he was guilt.
We heard several other witnesses, her sister-in law who interpreted for her when the police came that day plus took her to the hospital and four Seattle Police Officers.
We were soon in our Jury Room deliberating. In our instructions we had to all agree (6 of us) three points to convict. They were that he assaulted her, he did it intentionally, and that it happened in the City of Seattle. At first all but one person agreed to the two first items. Three were not sure about the location. I never thought that would be our hang up to conviction. However, it took another 2 hours to talk through all the evidence on why four of us believed it was in Seattle.
In the end we all said he was guilty. A tough decision by all of us but the City did prove the case with that 911 call tape.
And as a final parting note on my Jury Duty experience I want to share with you the view from the Jury Waiting Room. The City of Seattle built a new Courthouse a few years ago and this room is basically the penthouse on top of the building. It has high ceilings and lots of windows that have views to die for of Seattle.