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  • Judge, jury and faith

    I recently had the opportunity to serve as a juror on a criminal case in Fairfax County. It was the first time I’ve ever been summoned for jury duty and I am grateful I had the chance to experience it.

    As a reader of true crime books and a crime television watcher, I knew the experience of sitting in the jury box would be different. But the full impact of what you are responsible for is not conveyed without the personal experience.

    The power to decide if someone is guilty or innocent based on the evidence presented is a huge responsibility. In Virginia, there is the additional pressure of sentencing the person if they are found guilty — something we did in this case.

    I found myself praying throughout the experience. I prayed for the victim that they may find some comfort. I prayed for the jury to determine the right course of action to follow.

    While the criminal essentially took his own life in his hands, the jury has a degree of control, as well.

    Listening to the witnesses and other testimony brought home the fact that one incident can affect not only the victim but has a ripple effect through the friends and family of both the defendant and plaintiff. No one remains untouched.

    I pray the victim in this case found at least a small measure of peace and pray there can be a change in the defendant, as well. 

    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021

    @Elizabeth A. Elliott