Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jury Duty

Jury duty was fun but after two days of jury selection they dismissed me.

At first, I did not want to be a juror but after I settled into the number one seat in the juror's box I started to get into the case.

I guess the prosecutor did not like the fact that in non-violent crimes I believe, like my Step-Dad. The belief is: “It is better to let 10 guilty people go free then convict one innocent person.”

He was a wonderful man and an excellent attorney!

Here is a 2006 reprint of a story about my Step-Father, Joel A. Scelsi, Esquire, from the Press & Sun Bulletin in Binghamton, NY:

Saturday March 25, 2006
Lawyer remembered for helping others, Joel A. Scelsi, Esquire

By William Moyer Press & Sun-Bulletin
At one time, Joel A. Scelsi would have been affectionately called a small-town lawyer, his family remembered Friday.

From an office on Main Street in Endwell, Mr. Scelsi handled all things legal - from family court matters to real estate transactions and criminal defense at court trials.

Mr. Scelsi, 82, died Thursday at his Endwell home after a battle with Parkinson's disease. He had been married for 39 years to his wife, Stella.

"He did a lot of pro-bono work; he just helped a lot of people," said his daughter, Sylvana Dodd of Endwell. "Growing up, people would tell me if you ever got in trouble, go to Joel Scelsi and he'll help you. That was a wonderful part of his life."

One of his highest-profile cases involved the defense of an amateur boxer who was tried in Tioga County Court on a second-degree manslaughter charge.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Scelsi was a defense attorney for William L. Sosenko, then 22 of Little Meadows, Pa., who was tried in connection with the death of Keith A. Baron, then 30 of Apalachin. Baron was punched outside an Apalachin tavern on March 7, 1992, fell to the pavement, hit his head and died four days later, leaving a pregnant wife who gave birth to a son 22 days after the father's death.

Sosenko's trial in November 1992 ended in a mistrial after a juror got sick. A second trial in January 1993 ended with a deadlocked jury. A state appeals court upheld a decision to dismiss the felony charge against Sosenko.

In March 1975, Mr. Scelsi represented a promoter who wanted Helen Reddy, who recorded the song I Am Woman, to come to Broome County for a pretrial examination after the pop singer was accused of skipping out on a concert at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. The matter was eventually settled out of court, according to a newspaper report.

John E. Cheevers, former Town of Union supervisor and chief executive of Cheevers, Hand and Angeline investments in Endicott, knew Mr. Scelsi for many years from the lawyer's interest in community affairs.

"He was always interested in what was going on in the town; he always wanted what was good for the town," Cheevers said. "He was a classy guy. He did a lot of things for a lot of people, but didn't stand up and take credit for it."

Mr. Scelsi was a graduate of Union-Endicott High School, Colgate University and Cornell University law school. Among his community activities was a long tenure on the Vestal school board, winning a two-year term in May 1959 as a write-in candidate.

"His family came first and then his law practice, which was like an extended family," Dodd said. "He loved gardening. He loved cars. He had a Maserati, a Jaguar, a vintage Corvette and an old Cadillac that we called the pickle, because it was green."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to Work & Jury duty

We got back to the USA and went right to work fixing air conditioning systems. I love to work as it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Daeng had trouble with jet-lag for over a week but after three weeks she is back in the swing of things.

Today I'm sitting in the Jury Room as a juror. I have been sitting in the same seat for seven hours except for restroom breaks. Another hour or two and we should be dismissed.

Although I am not real crazy about being a juror if makes me real happy to be an American.

A trial with a jury of our piers is not something that is available in most countries.

Although we have things like the "Well from Hell" in the Gulf of Mexico and a recession causing trouble with all our livelihoods, life is still pretty good here in the old USA.