What’s Your Response to an Accusation?



I have been called for jury duty a few times but have never made it past the waiting area. This time when the summons arrived, I started to think about the possible case. If it involved anything to do with child sex abuse, could I be an impartial juror?

In the Sandusky trial there was overwhelming evidence of guilt, but that is not always the case. Child sex abuse cases rarely have eyewitnesses, multiple victims taking the stand, and a trail of odd behavior and past police calls in reference to the perpetrator. I have read that most cases are hard to prosecute. In those instances, it must be hard to be a juror.

When you hear of a person being arrested for sexually abusing a child, do you automatically assume guilt? What if it’s a priest? Does the emotional response outweigh the understanding that the case needs to be proven in court and the defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty?

If the victim testifying seems believable but the evidence is weak, could you vote to acquit? Does the juror have the added burden of feeling that if they acquit and are wrong, they just helped release a person back into society who could harm more children? Would the possibility of that make a juror more willing to vote guilty?

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