story, taken from Rene´s Gonzalez´s notes
(First part : Session Calendar- Jury's Selection)
27 , 2000
"This morning we were awaken with daily routine - to go down to the Court….
"Around 9:00 A.M. the visible part of this process started, once all pressures, evils and abuses ended that have constituted the 80 % of it: Now we enter in the part that has to do with public image of the system, that one that so cute is seen on films, and where delinquents seem to have so many legal resources to make fun of the poor government.
"We do not know if the prosecutor would know that we got cloth or if it would be mere coincidence, but she decided to change the look and left violet dresses and scarlet skirts , now she is dressed in black.
calendar was discussed: Work is going to be done from Monday to Friday, from
8:30 morning until 1:30 p.m.. We will
have small vacations between December 20 and January 2. The judge did not
explain if the inclusion of January the first had to do with the 42 anniversary
of the Revolution.
"Now the District explained that its case would take nearly one month, lawyers added other 15 days to that estimate, so the case would take some 45 working days which makes the end of February, more or less.
9.45 the first potential group for the jury came in, adding 34 people. The
spectacle started and we all have to stand up for them to go inside and have a
seat. It is supposed this ritual symbolizes respect that the District , the
Judge and us owe to these normal citizens right at the moment to exert their
duty to administer justice. I hope that none of them would have any trouble with
law in the future, for them not to learn, in bad terms, that justice has already
been administered before they entered in this room.
" Now the judge gives an explanation of their role as jury and about the process of questions they will be submitted to determine their admission as such. This process here is known as "voir dire" and the judge explains to them that its true meaning is to say the truth during the whole questioning process, she gently
and knows how to transmit the idea about this process that it is only to
determine their admission as juries and not to interfere in their private lives.
"Once she ends they are asked to swear that during the process they will tell the truth. Then they are asked if they have any obligations to stop them to go on as juries, for the period of the trial, they are asked to raise their hands and explain. Nearly 10 of them do that, explaining general personal problems and working obligations.
another ritual, the judge reads the
names of possible witnesses in the trial and asks the potential juries to say if
they know anybody, with the goal of determining influence on this relationship
for the jury.
lady stood up and explained that her parents were friends of Armando Alejandre´s
parents, one of the crew members of the plain Brother to the Rescue being
"The lady looked sincere and really was touched and explained she did not believe for her to impartially judge some defendant of conspiracy for that withdrawal.
"A Mister of some age seems to know all journalists , half of prosecutors and one forth of the Miami lawyers.
"Some of the journalists who dedicated themselves to combine their journalist activities with others not so of their profession, they were mentioned as witnesses and the Mr. identified them as familiar, and so and so forth. Other questions have to do with some experience linked with the legal system and any prejudice that such experience might have caused in the potential jury.
these questions, an impressive deed is discovered: more than half of the
possible juries have been victims of some criminal activity. It is unbelievable,
the majority refers facts such as car stealing activity and breaking into their
"It is decided to take a recess to have lunch at 1. 45, to return at 2:15 at that time we returned to the Court Room, but we found out crew relatives of the withdrawn plane, Brothers to the Rescue are giving a show to the press at the entrance of the Court and the Judge has to call the District to stop that mess. Besides we knew the press is interviewing possible juries, but I do not know if it would be those who had already been in the process or among those who were about to enter.
" Talking about the press, at the Court room there was the Channel 23 journalist, Ronald de Sousa, the one who used to flight with me democratically and went to interview myself after the arrest. There was also Rui Ferrera, from the Herald, and another with whom I crossed a couple of time in the activities of the Democracy Movement, called Hank Tester. There were two men I do not know which journal they work for.
"At 2.50 another group of 34 potential juries come in and go through the same ritual that the first group has suffered. Among this group, a greater group alleged troubles with the calendar, thus reaching 14. At the time of general questions there were more admissions from the jury: Two people have done business with Basulto, one has closed relation with Mario de la Peña´s relatives, two peoples have friendship with Silvia Iriondo, one person knows Ramón Saúl Sánchez and two get to know the activities of Movimiento Democracia. One is a client of dentist Nilo Hernández, I would like to assume , for the good of this people, never allow himself to touch his mouth for the sake of himself, by this Nilo Hernández, involved in this case.
At 5.00 p.m. the judge interrupted the process, almost started in order to
answer individual questions.
"We went out half dead from the Court and arrived to the floor around 7.00 in the evening, in the middle of applauses and petitions of autographs from the prisoners who had seen us on TV. In this moment, I just know, that we are celebrities , but one prisoner asked not to be cowards like them.