I’m on jury duty!


I recently served on a Grand Jury for Alexandria, Virginia.  I’m not allowed to tell you about the actual cases, but the one with that former president, whew…. Just kidding. This was circuit court, not federal.  I digress. 

What follows is an imaginary conversation between an imaginary writer and an imaginary police officer:

Law Enforcement Officer: (Let’s call her Leo.) Saturday night, the suspect led the police on a high speed chase. The vehicle he drove belonged to the victim and was reported stolen. When the car ran out of gas he was apprehended and arrested. He may have gotten away had he not wasted time getting a bike off the rack attached to the car. He was in a bar fight with the victim earlier that night.  

Mystery Writer and Reader People (Let’s call her Marple.) Then he didn’t do it. 

Leo: What?

Marple: The real killer is absolutely anyone else. 

Leo: But he confessed.

Marple: See?

Leo: See what?

Marple:  More evidence that he isn’t guilty.

Leo: Your duty is not to determine guilt. This is a grand jury. 

Marple:  Oh, grand, smand.  Show me your evidence and I’ll figure this out. 

Leo: (Scratching his head, speaking sotto voce.) I’d like to know who you think did kill the guy.

Marple: I find the town librarian is a good bet as a suspect in cases like these.

Leo: You’ve been on other juries?

Marple: I’ve worked with the police in other cities. Seven or eight.

Leo: You move around a lot?

Marple: If my neighbors become unfriendly, I leave.

Leo: Does that happened often?

Marple: More often than you might think. You see, whenever there’s a murder, I publicly accuse three people.  I already mentioned librarians, but I’ve also accused art dealers, handymen, and once a gourmet petfood chef. They get annoyed and stop speaking to me. 

Foreperson:  I’d like to call a vote. 

Leo: Please do. I can’t take anymore. 


  1. Let!s put Marple on the jury. It could be a genteel Twelve Angry Men (and myriad versions such as episodes of Monk and The Equalizer).

  2. I can’t get over the guy trying to get the bike off the rack. That’s a sure sign he’s not guilty, it that there’s a stolen masterpiece rolled up and hidden in the bike’s top tube, or the bike is made of solid gold, or he and the librarian are in it together.

  3. Never been on a jury. Been in the pool a few times. Should mystery writers be on a jury? First, they read. Second, they’re discerning. So what lawyer wants smart people who are not easily persuaded on a jury? As a journalist and former investigative reporter, I’ve never gotten close to be being called.

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