Friday, May 26, 2006

Making it personal

When family attends an inquest I offer them the opportunity to make a statement after the verdict, which then becomes part of the inquest record/transcript. Most families choose not to make a statement or offer simple thanks to the jurors and those who have participated in the investigation and handling of the case. Some families, on the other hand, present a prepared statement. Yesterday we heard (and felt) such a prepared statement.

After thanking the jurors for their work, the young man’s mother said she wanted to communicate what her son was like before he died, so that the jury would have a concept of what he was like as a person. Her statement was emotional and heartfelt; it brought tears to several of the jurors. She spoke briefly, but it came across powerfully. She summed up her son’s personality, attributes and future aspirations, all of which had been cut short by his death at an early age. It was tough listening, but a great reminder that the decedents that could easily be viewed as statistics are individuals with personality, friends, family, potential, and real lives. It was a poignant reminder to not lose sight of that, the personal side of this business.

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