Posted: Aug. 13, 2010


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

All people want to say, when they find out someone was on a jury, is, didja put 'em away?

This should not be overlooked by civics teachers. It appears to be a big clue that they ought to be focusing a little more on the concept of 'presumed innocent.'

Justice is grinding. A lot of people were disrupted this week because of a beer bottle alongside the head outside of a bar.

Mostly the jury was, the lives of 12 members and two alternates rearranged by the stupidity of violence, not to mention the family, friends and co-workers who had to cover for them.

The judge and the bailiffs had to be at court, anyway, so at least it provided gainful employment. Judge Fred Silverman, previously a deputy attorney general, is one of the reasons the judiciary looks something like a recycling bin for ex-prosecutors. If Erica Bradley ever decides not to be a bailiff, she could open a charm school. She was the personification of smiling conscientiousness.

The Wilmington cop on the case was a 20-year veteran, so he knew the routine, but it still cost him. After sitting through the trial during the day, he had to head out to work the night shift.

There was an emergency medical tech who had to testify. Do EMTs realize, as they enter their field, that in addition to patching up people, they are going to have to know how to be witnesses, too?

The courtroom figures who were in their element were the lawyers, the prosecutor Kevin Carroll and the defense attorney Beth Savitz. They did as much as they could with a seriously imperfect case.

The crime was unremarkable. A 22-year-old woman, as skinny as a human piccolo, got conked on the head with a beer bottle outside a bar back in January by another young woman who regarded her as a romantic rival.

The testimony on both sides ranged from thin to nonexistent. Still, it turned out to have been a very bad idea for the defendant, some weeks beforehand, to write to the victim on Facebook, "I hurt bitches like you."

The jury voted to convict. The deliberations, however, took time because the defense attorney really did her job, to the point that several jurors quipped they intended to remember her name, in case they ever got into trouble.

Who knows whether justice is done. People try hard. At least justice is approximated.