Sunday, July 17, 2016

They tell me it will be great for research...


Congratulations to "Laura S.", the winner in Maureen's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Recently I performed my civic duties as a juror on a murder trial. First, I'll state that I am humbled by the diligent and thorough process of our law. Everyone in every role of the court system was professional and informative. Second, I'll state that there is no comparison to watching something on TV and experiencing it in person. I walked away from the week-long trial very saddened. I am sad for the victim. I am sad for the defendant. I am sad for all the families involved. I spent most of the final day crying. The sheer responsibility for twelve souls is overwhelming. I will never again roll my eyes when I see the Jury Duty summons come in the mail.

During the jury selection process, both prosecution and defense grilled each potential juror, asking their occupation, the occupation of their spouse, the occupation of their great grandmother--okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating with the last one, but you get the point. With a potential sentence of life in prison without parole on the line, they are extremely diligent in their selections, and the vetting process is exhausting. It took three days just to pick the 12-person jury.

I'm not very good at public speaking so when all eyes in the courtroom turned to me as the prosecutor asked, "So, it says here that you are an author. What kind of books do you write?", I slunk down as far as possible in my chair and called out, "Romance." The prosecutor (who I kid you not-looked exactly like Marcia Clark) smiled widely and said, "My favorite kind!" Then it was the defense attorney's turn. He says, "I know the prosecutor reads your type of books, but what were they again?" I cleared my throat and called out confidently, "Romance." (Yay romance authors! Fist pump!)

Anyway, you are now pitted with 12 individuals that you have never met before for a gut-wrenching week of testimonial and photographs that you never ever want to see. All this time these twelve strangers are saying to me, "but it will be great research for your books." In fact, at the end of the trial the jurors collected all of their notes and handed them to me to use for future books.

That was thoughtful of them, but the problem is that I never want to go back and read those notes. I like research when it is anonymous. This trial touched me. It became too personal to ever 'use' as a reference. 

Has anyone had jury duty?

I'm happy to report that there are no trial scenes in the BLUE-LINK romantic suspense series! :)  These books are all standalone. The final book, DUSK was just released last month.

DUSK

As a young girl, Amanda Newton witnessed the brutal murder of her parents. As an adult she is targeted by their murderer.

Beautiful. Reserved. Mysterious. Amanda Newton, the CEO of BLUE-LINK epitomizes control with her adept handling of the global company. But that control is threatened with a series of attacks against her.

Ray Gordon, a former Navy SEAL is looking to open his own security firm. One more contracting job with BLUE-LINK would complete the funding. When he is hired to protect Amanda Newton, the Ice Queen herself, he never bargained on falling for her.

Amanda has something her attacker wants. He has waited over twenty years to claim it, and he will destroy anyone close to her to get it.

...but he's met his match in Ray Gordon.


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40 comments:

  1. I've never been on a jury panel; but I've known people who were. They said it was an emotionally exhaustive experience. I've read SHADOW and MIST. I have DUSK at the top of my wish list waiting until I have enough credit saved up at Amazon to buy. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  2. Great post, thanks for sharing! In Italy we don't have a jury duty. Everyone is judged by a judge or a panel of judges.

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    1. Hi Natalija. I'm always fascinated to understand the law procedures in other countries.

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  3. I got summoned once but due to my job and timing, I was excused (which I was glad for!)

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  4. I was on a panel once, but was dismissed.

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    1. Even that can be nerve-racking. Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

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  5. Thank you for this post, Maureen. I'm not an American and only watching the proceedings of law on TV series or movies. Like many part of life in the US the jury panel fascinates me, and this post gives more personal view than I read on books (or watch on the telly or movies)! Awesome post! :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Dee. I'm so happy you could stop by!

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  6. This sounds like a good book! I love romantic suspense...it's my favorite genre.

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  7. Wow! I've never had to do jury duty (yet) but I always hope that if I do it will be for a smaller crime. I don't mind reading about murder but I'm not sure I want to hear the level of detail that would occur in court. I can't wait to check out your books!

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I agree. I'm hoping having served this that I'll be excused from any future murder trials.

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  8. I had jury duty once but was sent home because I had been a detention officer at the jail

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    1. It is amazing the diversity you see on the jury panel, Liz. I was sitting next to a horticulturist. I called him, "The Martian." :)

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  9. It was during jury selection that I got bumped from a very long, serious jury trial. I got bumped because I made my living as a legal secretary, working for trial defense attorneys. Now that I've read this post I don't feel so bad at getting bumped off the panel. I like reading romantic suspense and, from time to time, a thriller (if not too gory), so I don't want such memories to keep me from reading suspense/intrigue. Thanks for your post, Maureen! jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. It was scary, Janice. We had to be escorted to our cars at the end of the trial. Once I got in my car I wanted to call out, "But wait, don't go!"

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  10. In my small town and rural area there are very few violent crimes. But, in 2012 there were three non related murders. I was summoned for jury duty. At the time I was disappointed that I had myself excused due to a vacation that was nonrefundable. Thank you for your perspective on this... Now I'm grateful I wasn't a part of it.

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    1. The vacation sounds like a much better option, Julie! :)

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  11. My first time being summoned for jury duty I was put on a civil trial and ended up being the foreperson (why not get the full experience?). I recall being very happy it wasn't a criminal trial. As it was, I felt the weight of the responsibility of the one I was assigned. I was proud of our finding and the recommended settlement. Neither side was happy, which made us feel we got it right. The judge smiled at us, gave us a nod before thanking us for our duty. We were finished in two days.

    Don't blame you for not using your experience in your next books. It does feel personal and every time I pass the building of one of the complainants, I remember the trial vividly. It's been over ten years.

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    1. Hi Jonetta. I'm proud of you for being foreperson. I confess to hiding behind my notebook when they said, "Does anyone want to be foreperson?"

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  12. Several years ago, I served on two juries: one for a drunk driving case and the other for a rape. Not as serious as a murder, but the consequences of both were still life-changing for those involved. The most upsetting aspect for me was the jurors themselves. Many of them never even attempted to look at the facts objectively; they seemed to have made up their minds about guilt/innocence before ever hearing the evidence. And I still remember the woman who knitted through all our deliberations, voted guilty from the first ballot, and whose comments revealed she was extremely biased against young people. Altogether, it was an eye-opening experience.

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    1. Oh, Marissa, that would upset me so. I was proud of my fellow jurors. We were all very fair and we took an exceptional amount of time to try to discuss every fact. Both of your cases are very emotional situations. It must have been very hard on you.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your experience so eloquently, Maureen! I was called for jury duty twice when I was younger, but not for a very long time. The first time I only spent a day on site and wasn't selected. The second time I was selected for two cases that settled before the day was over so I didn't have to serve. I've always been sorry about that, but they were much simpler cases than you or Marissa have endured. It makes me really sad.

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    1. The one thing that really moved me was that after the trial ended, the judge came back to visit with us in the jury assembly room. He told us that given all the facts he was presented with, he felt we reached the correct decision. That made me feel a little better. Thanks so much, Natalie.

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  14. Hi. Never called for jury duty. I did work for attorneys, so I probably wouldn't have been picked anyway. Or been called for one of those really boring cases that would put you to sleep.

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    1. Hi Trish. Yeah, you would have probably gotten out of it. They kicked one lady off the jury because she worked in the daycare facility in the courthouse.

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  15. I have been called (and picked) to serve on a murder trial. Very interesting. Would love to read this book.

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    1. Thanks so much, Martha. It is certainly an experience, isn't it?

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  16. Thanks for sharing Maureen... I was summoned 4 times, but was dismissed.

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    1. Hi Colleen. I hope your employers have been understanding about you being called in. That's another side of the process that makes it stressful.

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    1. LOL. Hi Bn! They let me out from behind the curtain today! :)

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  18. No jury duty here. I just know I would hate it. Too traumatic I think.

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  19. No jury duty for me, I don't think I would have enjoyed it much so fingers crossed I won't ever have to!

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  20. I have been called to jury duty but as it was expected to last for approximately a month, I was able to get a deferral ( I wasn't compensated by my work and had no vacation time I could take.). I was very glad as it was for two trials, a murder and a sexual assault...not something I ever want to have to hear about in all the details. I definitely feel for those who have to experience such things.

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  21. Hi Shelley. Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm so glad you were able to get out of it. A month is an incredible investment of time, and to have to deal with that subject matter for that length would be incredibly taxing. I don't know how our law officials deal with this on a daily basis. I tip my hat to them.

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