Part 4 of 4
The Indiana Supreme Court promulgated rules or amendments to govern jury assembly, selection and management in all state courts which became effective Jan. 1, 2003. Some local residents were asked what they thought about serving on a jury and the jury process.
Regina Paullus served as a jury member for a rape trial about 10 years ago.
"I'll never forget it for the rest of my life," she said. "It's something everybody should do. I'd never thought about it before I was called. I honestly thought I wasn't capable of doing it. But once you get there you realize how much you affect a person's life, whether or not they go to jail. So you listen very intently .
"I learned so much about the law with that experience. The judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney were very good at making sure we understood the law. We had to make our decision on what the law said."
Paullus explained that initially she thought the man accused of rape was guilty just because he was a man and the woman said he did it. She told of another jury member, a man, who initially thought the defendant was innocent. That juror's reasoning was he didn't think the woman would have objected to the act because she had a tattoo.
But both set their personal feelings aside and listened to the evidence and the law to make their decision.
"We were fair and honest," Paullus said. "It's a tremendous responsibility but it's a responsibility that every citizen of Clay County should feel proud and privileged to take."
Marshall Singleton was the foreman on a murder trial last year.
"I was very willing to participate in the process," Singleton said. "I feel it's a civil duty. I was amazed at how smoothly the jury selection process went. There were several in the pool who would have done anything not to serve. They expressed prejudices so they wouldn't be accepted.
"We were all from Clay County," Singleton continued, "so on the outside it seemed that we were very much alike. But it turned out we were very diverse. There were young and old, different genders, different social, economic and educational levels. And there were so many different view points represented during deliberations."