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We the Jury

New - 22 September 2008

We the Jury

A Novel of the Past and Present Trials of... Jurors

An Original Novel (adapted from the Screenplay)

by

Daniel Sewell DocPtah Ward

Copyright 1996, 2000, 2003, 2008 Dan Sewell Ward

“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” -- Thomas Jefferson

“It is not only his right, but his duty... to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” -- John Adams

We the Jury delivers an emotional and stunning enactment of a jury of twelve – twelve ordinary individuals playing their respective parts in both a 1670 London trial and a 2003 Denver trial – as they take on the responsibility for seeking justice in a legal system not always so inclined toward anything so esoteric as justice. In the process, the jurors must ignore the directed verdicts of the Courts, the omnipresence of the law-enforcement authorities past and present, and the often biased opinions of the media and an ill-informed public. The jury must in fact seek justice on their own terms and thereby take full responsibility for their verdicts.

The storyline begins during the time of William Penn and William Mead’s trial in 1670 London -- a time when juries were shanghaied into duty and expected to parrot the Court’s wishes. In effect, juries of the period were not free, and instead were obliged (on pain of punishment, heavy fines and/or imprisonment) to rubber stamp whatever the justices, prosecution, and other authorities had unilaterally decided constituted the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Intimately intermingled with the 1670 London trial is a modern day trial, having many of the overtones of the historical one (not to mention a recent one in Denver). But in addition to a jury doing whatever the Court (the justices or judge) and law-enforcement authorities decide the jury is to do, the jury in its deliberations in modern times must also contend with heavy (and illegal) influence by public opinion and the media. In multiple ways, there exists a strong coercion upon any juror of a well publicized trial for a particular sentence -- usually one of “guilty”.

Intermingled with the two main stories are two other critical episodes: one in Jerusalem at the time of Christ -- specifically the actions of the Sanhedrin -- and the other in ancient Rome during the late sixth century B.C.E., specifically the episode of Horatio holding the bridge against an invading army. In all four time periods, we encounter the same individuals and with many of the same characteristics, trying over and over to maybe get it right this time around. This use of the same characters is intended more to suggest that some people simply never change, and less as an argument for reincarnation. (It might also save time for the casting director of the movie.)

It is noteworthy that the description of the 1670 London trial is strongly based on the actual trial, its transcripts, and the historical facts surrounding the event. As incredible as some of the dialogue and exchanges are, they are historically accurate. Which, in some ways, makes it all the more scary. Meanwhile, the fictional events of the modern day trial are easily recognized as being based on recent, high profile trials – with equally lamentable results (i.e. no indication that the modern day juries fulfilled their constitutional duties).

Indeed, some things never change.

 

 

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Forward to:

Chapter 1 - Jury Duty

  

               

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