Your Honor, we have Reached the Verdict:
We are the Guilty!
Edip Yuksel, J.D.
State of Arizona v.s. Robert Tracy Wilson
Pima County Superior Court
Judge Clark W. Munger
In the 22 years since I immigrated to the USA, this was the first time I was summoned for jury duty. Early morning of June 8, 2001, I lost my sleep. The second day of my jury duty is going to start at 10:30 am, and at 7:00 am I have an appointment with endodondist for a root canal on tooth number 19. I did not lose my sleep because of my tooth; I lost it because of that homeless guy staring at the jury box the day before.
After listening to the opening statements and some witness testimonies the day before, I was disturbed by the events, characters, and my role. The voice of the judge echoes in my mind. He read his instruction for us reminding us that we have to set aside our opinion and follow the law, since it would cause anarchy. He was right. As a jury member, I took an oath to follow the laws. The judge was a very kind person and followed the rule of law as he was expected to. But, last night, after some soul-searching I contemplated to become an anarchist. I prefer to be an anarchist rather than to be an accomplice robot of legalized systematic injustice. I know that I would not follow the law to find Rosa Parks guilty of sitting in a bus allocated to white people. This homeless drug addict, of course, is no male version of Rosa Parks, but I found similarities between us and those who haunted witches and tried people like Rosa Parks.
Out of about 40 candidates who were gathered for voir dire, I was among the chosen eight jurors plus an alternate one. I was later told by the law clerk, who happened to be my classmate from law school, that it was very rare that a lawyer would make it to the jury. Perhaps, the snapshot information about my colorful background and my occupation of authoring books and teaching philosophy and ethics courses at college, were the redeeming factors... The defense expected me to empathize and the prosecutor expected me to rationalize. I did both, and even more!