And a TJ approach to Will Smith & the NY Subway Shooter
eloquence beyond measure in describing this scenario. I was dismissed by prosecutors from jury selection and vividly recall the dilemmas I faced. There are no wins in the U.S. legal system.
I really, really appreciate this entire newsletter, but the top part in particular really got to me. I was in a somewhat similar situation and had to make a hard decision that I still think about a lot. I was called up and had to go through the questions. I had made a decision in the spur of the moment to decide what I would do based on the case. If it was something I felt I could help on, perhaps being a holdout to avoid someone being imprisoned, I could stick it out. Something that could make a difference. But of course, things are rarely that simple. Instead, I was faced with a case involving sexual assault, where the defendant was a Black man. I was torn between knowing prison is not the answer (and knowing race will definitely play a role in how people respond) but also wanting to respect that there was a woman who I believed had been harmed here. Given the choices, I didn't feel there was a "good option," so I decided to excuse myself by admitting to being an abolitionist that wouldn't feel comfortable making a decision either way (but especially not to imprison someone) given the entire process is a violent sham. It was incredibly uncomfortable. I had to briefly explain to a judge -- who sighed and rolled his eyes at me the entire time -- what I meant by, "I'm an abolitionist." I got annoyance directed at me while the woman who openly admitted she was racist and therefore couldn't be impartial towards the defendant, and then was (thankfully) excused but given sympathy, understanding, and even a thank you from the judge for admitting to it. My anxiety was through the roof, and I still wonder if I should have stuck around through it, but I don't think I could make any meaningful difference there. I'll never know, but it gave me a lot of perspective for if I'm ever called again, considering I didn't think I'd ever get to the point of being questioned in the first place and therefore never took time to think through this all. The questions you pose here are incredibly helpful, and I'm sure I'll return to this if it ever happens again, to help guide me.