What does it mean to Be Guilty?



The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. See synonyms at blame.

Law. Culpability for a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a legal penalty.

Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong.

Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.

Guilty conduct; sin.


OK.  I dared to crosspost it:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

I recently had the experience of sitting on a jury.  It was largely a domestic violence case, with a few trumped up felonies added on.

As a juror you are told to not take this home, to not spend the rest of your days in mental sequestration.

Yet, a man was charged guilty of two of four, and I signed my name on the dotted line.

In fact, I was one of those most convinced that the state needed to act.  I even helped convince other people.


A child is born with a father in jail.  A mother gives birth alone.

The state set the stage.  It is all supposed to be for the best.  Injury occurred, there was a credible witness.

Who knows what is best and what will become?

Are we not all stained by the act of becoming?

I did what I was told.  I did what I thought was best.  Domestic violence is an incredibly serious issue.  He broke her nose.  Who knows what might be next?

Yet, I can’t help but feel for the young girl: alone, pregnant, with her love in jail despite what he has done.

I feel, therefore I am human.



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  1. I could use some.

  2. I respect even more that it doesn’t come easy in this situation. There are lives at stake, and you honor them by caring about that.  

  3. I’ve been defending people accused of crimes for more than 30 years.  I’ve been in many, many jury trials.  I know it’s hard for jurors to do their job, to keep their oath, to keep their promises to be fair and impartial.  To me it sounds like you faithfully did your job.  So I, and the defense and the prosecution, and even the person found guilty should thank you for your faithful service.

    It’s definitely not easy to be a “judge of the facts” and to apply the law as instructed by a judge.  And, unfortunately, as you recognize, there are consequences to the jury’s decisions that go far beyond guilty or not guilty.  That’s why in most cases judges are the ones to decide what punishment, if any, is appropriate.

    Put another way, you didn’t let anyone down.  You did your job properly.  It’s somebody else’s job to make the ultimate conclusion about what is now appropriate.

    Thank you for your jury service.

    • kj on February 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    essay, tecampbell.

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