Sherri Stewart


What are your thoughts on serving on a jury?

Twelve Angry Men was my first introduction to the jury system, and ever since watching that movie, I've longed to sit at the long table and argue the facts. I've never made it past the waiting room. I don't care if a haze of smoke hangs over the room as it did in the movie. I don't care if personalities clash, as did Lee J Cobb's and Henry Fonda's. Chances are I'll never make into the courtroom because I'm an attorney, although I don't practice. My mother made it past voir dire several times, probably because she had an honest face and a sweet disposition. Little did the court  know that like Henry Fonda, she had enough gumption to stand alone against the jury, and the vote was 10-1. And like Henry Fonda, she made the other jurors stay until they'd argued the facts into the ground. But unlike Fonda, she was unable to persuade every juror to her point of view, which resulted in a hung jury.

The main problem for my mother was the fact that the defendant was a repeat offender, and the jurors were quick to believe that he deserved to go to prison based on his past record, but my mom argued that the item he stole was on sale when he stole it, which dropped it to a misdemeanor. So the question that confronted the jury revolved around the value of the item stolen, not the act of stealing. She was right.

My mom's a small lady, four foot ten if she stands tall, and almost 89 years old, and she's full of stories. I've captured some of them in my new book, which will be out in a few weeks, called The Good Little Nurse.

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