Schenectady Murder Suspect Called for Jury Duty
A suspect facing trial for a murder committed in Schenectady this past June was obliged to let the judge know he would be unable to attend his court dates as he was needed for jury duty. As unusual as that may sound, the best part of this story is still yet to come.
Derrick Smith is one of two suspects facing some very serious charges - second degree murder and weapons possession with the prospect of 25 years to life if convicted; and as an added bonus, an accusation (not against Smith) was made with regard to potential witness tampering. Despite such a bleak situation, however, Smith was able to shrug off his impending trial when he informed the judge that he received a jury duty summons in the mail. Not strange enough for you yet? How about the fact that the summons was for his own trial?
Smith informed the judge that he would gladly sit in the jury box for his own murder trial. The judge, finding the situation rather humorous, then asked the suspect/potential juror if Smith thought he would be able to render a fair and impartial verdict if chosen if chosen to fulfill his civic duty.
After the comedy routine, everyone in the court room suddenly remembered why they were there and got down to the business of that pesky thing called justice.
Just a little explanation here - when I first read this, I got the joke and thought it was mildly amusing as well. Then I remembered that we were dealing with a murder trial, and the ones cracking jokes are the judge and the suspect. Does anyone else find that just a tad inappropriate? If the summons had gone to the stenographer, one of the attorneys, or the judge himself, or if it was just a case of robbery or larceny or smaller offense, it might be a little less morbid.
Unfortunately, the situation was a little more serious than that and I think the last thing that should be happening in the courtroom is a bit of tasteless merriment. The more I thought about it, the more I pictured the victim's ghost standing in the courtroom wondering what the hell was going on. Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but the joke just became less funny, and something tells me Smith won't be laughing when the verdict is read.