This week I was honored to be selected from the jury pool to participate in one of the most important duties we can accomplish for our community; to be a member of an impartial jury. And while I will not go through all of the sordid details of the case, I will tell you that it was a State's case against an individual that involved the possession and distribution of child pornography.
State's evidence included the videos that were found in the defendant's home. The peer group of jurors, six of us including an alternate, sat in silence as one video clip after another was played. I cannot stop thinking about those children - and they were indeed children. These were pre-pubescent young girls and boys, and if the video labels were to be believed, they ranged in age from 6 to 11 years old. SIX TO ELEVEN YEARS OLD!
As I sat and watched the evidence being played, saw the children being raped and sodomized, saw their youth being scarred by such atrocities, I was first horrified by what I was watching, and then I realized I was FURIOUS that these things exist.
As I sat in the jury box, I had to contemplate this extreme anger and make sure that I wasn't projecting this onto the defendant. He wasn't the one raping the children, but anyone who purposefully searches, downloads and watches these atrocities is part of the problem. Without a huge global audience, would child rape still exist? Probably.
As a juror, I was instructed to stay away from local news, newspapers, radio, and websites that might discuss the case, so it was easier to just come home after a long day and fall asleep but then...
Jeffrey Epstein in the news
I am not usually a vindictive person. I often save those dark things for fiction, but this child predator should never, EVER feel the light of freedom again. Better yet, throw him in general population at the federal prison and let the other inmates show him some attention.
The fact that his defense is trying to say that the victims were prostitutes makes me sick. In 1995, the United States defined a minor as being a person under the age of 18. By law, minors are not legally capable of sexual consent. Epstein's defense would have you believe that his young victims are prostitutes because he left an envelope of money for them when he was done raping them.
The State's Case
After the prosecution and defense rested, the jurors were given instructions by the judge. The alternate juror was excused and the rest of us were tasked with looking at the evidence and come to a decision. Remember, in the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. It is not up to the defense to prove innocence. It is up to the prosecutor to make a case to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It was up to the jury to come to a unanimous decision of innocence or guilt based on everything that was presented in court.
I was in a room with five other amazing people. We were a melting pot of age, race, and experience. Roy and I were able to explain to the other jurors what BitTorrents are and how they function as file sharing software. We took heavy consideration into the timeline, the proof of the timeline, and witness testimony.
We made a unanimous decision of guilty on all nine counts.
Based on what I was witness to, I will never doubt that my decision was the right one but as a member of an admittedly dysfunctional family, I feel terrible for the family of the accused. There were things that were said on the record that will never be erased. Animosity and deflection to move blame away from the defendant and onto his youngest 22 year old son who was not on trial. A young man who has to live with the knowledge that his father gave the defense team permission to use him as the vehicle to plant the seeds of doubt to complete strangers. It obviously didn't work.
My closing thought is this: I cannot rest easy with the remembrance of those children being raped on the videos. I simply cannot wash my eyes or brain of those images. It is one thing to know that these heinous things exist; it is entirely a different thing when faced with the absolute reality of it. I can rest very well knowing that the other jurors and I made the right decision in this case. In hindsight, I'm even more confident because if he can deflect the blame onto his own child then he is probably capable of other heinous things.
created by @kookyan
Follow me on Social Media
previously published on Whaleshares