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What I learned from being on a Grand Jury
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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I was on a grand jury for 4 months. I live in a big county that surrounds a medium sized city, so we have a lot of crime. The grand jury considers felonies, such as robbery, drug dealing, murder.

We met twice a week. On Wednesdays, we would have training. On Mondays, we would hear evidence for about 40 cases. We determined whether the police had enough evidence that a crime had probably been committed and whether it had probably been committed by the suspect. If so, we would indict. Then it would go to trial or plea bargain. Sometimes we would suggest that there be other charges or suggest areas where they should get more evidence. In hundreds of cases, there was only 1 that we did not indict.
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1. Board Game: Cops 'n' Robbers [Average Rating:5.25 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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There are many different branches of police. We heard testimony from state troopers, comptrollers (treasury), environmental, and transit authorities, as well as the local county police. There were also various specialties. For example, we have 4 police officers who deal with scrap metal. Thieves will commit thousands of dollars worth of damage to a construction site or commercial building to obtain copper that is worth under a hundred dollars. The county police merit a certain respect from the criminals, who would much rather be caught by the city police.
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2. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:615]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Convicted felons can't have guns, not even parts of guns or ammunition. A lot of them don't like this. There are 2 shooting ranges in the county. To use the range, you have to verify that you don't have any felonies and provide state ID (driver's license). When the police check your name, if you do have a felony, they come to your house and zap you with another felony.
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3. Board Game: Druggies [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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The cops see the same guys over and over. They'll say "a suspect known to the police" which means that they have a conversation along the lines of "Tom, shouldn't you still be in jail for robbing this same gas station?" "Nah, Officer Bob, I got out 4 days ago."
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4. Board Game: Weed! [Average Rating:5.23 Overall Rank:9680]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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The police say "I saw some greenish brown vegetable matter, which through my training, knowledge and experience I knew to be...." To determine whether drugs are for personal use or distribution, they look for things like postage scales and tiny baggies. Wait, we have those. I swear they're for game parts.
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5. Board Game: Easy Money [Average Rating:4.87 Overall Rank:10775]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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In most of the robbery and burglary cases, the amount was less than $1000. In only two cases, it was greater than $10,000 without a car being stolen. One of our last cases involved 6 guys breaking into a school and stealing 3 basketballs. Do you think a half of a basketball is worth a felony conviction?
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6. Board Game: Assault [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3159]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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It's a wonder the police don't get violent more often. They get beaten on by angry criminals a lot. Now, if someone with a gun is telling me to do something, I'd pay attention. But apparently it makes some people shoot, throw bleach, try to run them over with a car, jump on their backs, or bite.
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7. Board Game: Beware of the Dog [Average Rating:5.64 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Along the lines of biting, there's the K-9 unit. The K-9 unit gets called to chase suspects through the woods. Eventually, they find the suspect, who gets 3 warnings before the dog is released. The dogs are trained to seize a man's arm and not let go. The criminals somehow think that if they are really good at hiding, these specially bred and trained dogs won't find them. Not true.

On the trivia side, we don't use American German Shepherds or German German Shepherds, due to breeding problems. Our German Shepherds come from Eastern Europe. This means that sometimes the trainers have to learn commands in other languages.
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8. Board Game: Talk in Text [Average Rating:5.42 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Don't text about your criminal enterprises. Even if it's in code. The cops know the code, too. To listen in on a conversation, they need a judge to approve a wiretap. If they catch you with a cell phone, they just look at the records to see your drug transactions.

Along that line, don't brag about your crimes over the jailhouse phone system. At the beginning of your conversation, there's a recording that says your conversation is being monitored. They really are listening.
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9. Board Game: Don't Talk to Strangers [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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If someone is pointing a gun at you, you should walk away. If someone is shooting a gun at you, you should run away. Apparently not everyone understands this.
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10. Board Game: Family Business [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:1900]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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It was heartwarming (?) when the defendants were related. There were cousin, sibling, and parent-child teams. At least it was better that they committed crimes together rather than committing crimes upon each other. It's a really bad idea to rob a relative who can then identify you and provide your address to the police.
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11. Board Game: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Boardgame [Average Rating:3.88 Overall Rank:10983]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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On tv, they get the results of 5 tests in 30 minutes. In our county, it took indicting the case to increase the sample's precedence to where it would get processed. We never had evidence from DNA or fingerprints.

On the plus side, there were some old cases with evidence which was being re-examined now that there is technology to do so. Criminals who thought they got away with something 10 or 20 years ago can still be brought to justice.
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12. Board Game: Phone Frenzy [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Our 911 Call Center was really amazing. Each operator has 3 or 4 screens of data and knows at every moment where 15 police cars are and what they are doing. It is a higher stress job than being a police officer. If you know someone who can think quickly and doesn't want to go to college, this could be a good career choice.
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13. Board Game: Play Sheriff [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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In my county, the sheriffs serve warrants and transport criminals. If someone is caught in another state, a sheriff has to go there and bring him back. This can be on a commercial flight with no restraints. If the plane goes down, the suspect must have the same chance to escape that you have.
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14. Board Game: Eye-Witness [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Sometimes, we'd sense how frustrated the police were that a crime had been committed in a crowded area and there were NO witnesses. It could even be difficult to get a bleeding victim to admit that he had seen the person who had stabbed him.
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15. Board Game: Candid Camera Game [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Luckily, the police don't have to depend entirely on witnesses because so many places have surveillance these days. Some homeowners who see a lot of back alley traffic even have floodlights and cameras.
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16. Board Game: The Dating Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Those of you with pre-teen and teen daughters, please talk to them about predators. We met a middle-aged man who is very successful as a 13 year old girl online. He posts ads on Craigslist and gets men to show up looking for love. They are generally cooperative in providing their real names to the "girl."

And, no, it's not entrapment because he is very careful to let the (other) adult male lead the conversation. There is a lot of interest locally, but if he hears from someone who is obviously in another jurisdiction, he contacts their law enforcement people. The sad part is that he says that if there weren't real girls posting ads, then what he's doing wouldn't work.
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17. Board Game: Hock Shop [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Many stolen items turn up at pawn shops. There are several police officers whose job it is to scour the pawn lists. (I think some of these jobs have to be punishment.) The "owners" have to provide ID so it is easy to locate them.
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18. Board Game: Drive [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2151]
Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Many crimes are discovered with routine traffic stops. Sometimes, a police officer has a feeling about a car and looks up whether it has an overdue registration, but often there's a drugged out driver who's done something stupid, like stop in the middle of the interstate. If you obey traffic laws, you'll greatly reduce the chance of cops finding the giant container of weed and 3 illegal guns in your car.
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