By Marc Klaas
This is like waiting for your children to be born. Nerves stretched like violin strings wound to tight, ready to snap. We laugh at nothing and worry about everything. What in Godís name is taking so long. Itís so obvious that he did it. So letís move on to the penalty phase. We pass the time talking about Polly. The good times, before the nightmare. I was in heaven sitting on the couch in our condo, sandwiched between Polly and Violet. Polly, flicking her tongue like a lizard, rolling her eyes up into her head, cracking her knuckles, knowing how much it annoys me. Violet is laughing. Her laugh is musical, but there is no more music.
Is there distention in the jury room? For the second day in a row they ask for clarification. The buzz word is deadlock. It carries emotional weight and makes good copy. Apparently, a problem exists regarding one or more of the special circumstances. I hope it is not the lewd act. If they give him that, then he wins. Was the jury attending a different trial than we were? My mother and sister in law are crying. How will this affect the penalty phase? My father and I are angry. Why does Barry Collins look so smug? Violet expresses bewilderment. We are reduced to second guessing rumor and innuendo.
It was the same feeling I had when we were looking for Polly. Only then hope for a successful resolution existed. A conviction does not define success. There will be no victorious popping of champagne corks. We will not slap each other on the back and toast a job well done. This is about a moral victory. If he is convicted on all charges and receives the death penalty, he still languishes in prison for years. Nothing will bring Polly home.
This morning Barry Collins said that "reasonable doubt is not an exact science." How right he is. In fact, it has gotten to the point where reasonable doubt means documentation or videotape. If they could not convict O.J. with overwhelming scientific and circumstantial evidence, maybe there will never be another conviction. It is time that we address the judicial system, streamline it and ensure that it is responsive to the needs of the innocent, not the guilty.
The jury is intelligent and conscientious. They cross all the tís and dot all the iís and understand the weight their decision carries. The fate of a so called human being hangs in the balance. They do not want to be criticized, second guessed or offer cause for appeal. They do not wish to be perceived as the next idiot jury. This is as it should be. Itís just so damn nerve wracking. Knowing that there is nothing you can do but wait and hope for the best.
KlaasKids Foundation P.O. Box 925, Sausalito, CA 94966
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