At the precise moment that our new mayor was being inaugurated, I was sitting on a hard wood bench at the Crowley county courthouse along with 60 fellow Dallas County citizens being questioned about whether we should be judging a fellow Dallas County resident charged with murder. By 5:30 p.m., I and 47 other members of the jury pool were on our way home, leaving behind 12 jurors to handle the case. As part of the questioning, I learned a few things…

1) Literally about one-third of the people on the jury, theoretically chosen at random from Dallas County residents, said that they or their families had been victims of violent crimes. That seems like a lot, but then again, perhaps that why we’re the crime capital.

2) Quite a few people (maybe about one-third again) said they didn’t have much respect for our justice system, perhaps because of their experience with violent crimes?

3) Counter to most of our winks and jokes (between us) about spending the day on jury duty, most of the 60 people actually seemed interested in serving. People generally paid attention during the four hours or so of questioning, and I would have been comfortable having perhaps half of them sitting in judgement of me. I don’t know about the other half, though…

Anyway, perhaps it’s a good thing that Mayor Leppert is focusing on getting us off the major crimes list and adding police officers — based on my experience today, an awful lot of our fellow citizens would be very happy knowing that someone is concerned about crimes like the ones committed against them.

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