JURY SUMMONS for the Shawn Tyson Murder Trial


March 20 – Back from Costa Rica and after a few days I’m able to attack the 2 month pile of mail. Glaring in big red letters is JURY SUMMONS March 20 8 am.” Oh shit! That’s today. I’ve missed it by hours’. First I’m kind of glad. I fill out the back with my usual excuse: ‘Just returned from Costa Rica where I live for six months a year and received the summons too late. Sorry.’

March 21 – I read the Sarasota Herald Tribune and realize I would have been one of the prospective jurors for the trial of Shawn Tyson, accused of murdering British tourists J. Cooper and J. Kouzaris. Because of the huge media blitz in the notorious Brit tabloids this trial is being watched around the world and Florida tourism is not happy.

Thoughts rush and tumble through my mind:

  1. I would have liked to be on this jury. Not like my last experience as a juror, which was a typical whiplash scam.
  2. They’d never have chosen me anyway: A. I don’t believe in capital punishment. B. Too pro black with my experience teaching in the black community and having close black friends.
  3. The trial could last a really long time and I’d miss a visit from my California/Costa Rican boyfriend who’s already got a ticket to Florida for the Wannee Festival.

March 22 – Headline reads “Witnesses could present obstacle.” The jury is seated, but prosecutors asked questions like: “What do you think about a witness who receives benefit for testifying?” What? I turn the page and there they are – four witnesses who have already received something for their future testimony: avoided 10 years in prison, received a reduced charge, received a housing waver to move to a safer home or avoided being charged as an accessory. What again? Isn’t this bribery?

from Wikipedia: “The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be any moneygoodright in actionpropertyprefermentprivilege,emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.

Hmmmm. So this is our democratic system and a right to a fair trial? I always knew this happened – plea bargaining – but this is going too far. Sounds like our judicial system has gone the way of our political system.

And the other murder here in Florida will be the subject of my next blog (which I’ve neglected way too long) – unarmed and black Trayvon Martin being gunned down by neighborhood watcher George Zimmerman. And he’s still not been arrested because of a self defense charge. Huh? Martin only had some Skittles and a bottle of iced tea on him. At least this one has lots of protests.

Retort to Backpacker’s View of CR in Sarasota Herald Tribune

Letter to the Editor

Sarasota Herald Tribune

By Jill Green

Re: Backpacker’s Guide to Costa Rica printed Sunday 8/16/2009

Letter to the Editor  in reply to an article “A Backpacker’s Guide to Costa Rica” in the Sun. Aug 16, 2009 edition

In her quest to find friends to party with, Anna Salinas lost sight of her original dual purpose of teaching English to Costa Ricans and learning something about the culture of this friendly Latin American country

If she wanted “the perfect untouristy spot” why did she pick the three most visited tourist destinations in the country, Monteverde Cloudforest, Manuel Antonio and Arenal Volcano? There are many other less visited attractions including miles of totally isolated beaches, mountains and rainforests.

At odds? One the one hand she’s wanting a non-touristy, see the country and culture vacation. On the other she wants to hang in the bars with her young backpacker friends. Guess which side wins. I appreciate youth, wanting to bond with peers, and party down. Maybe if she had traveled to small villages and met some of the wonderful warmhearted families, she would have experienced some of the simple pleasures and friendly culture of the country whose motto is “Pura Vida”.

True, I am biased after having lived in Costa Rica on and off for fifteen years. Yes, there are isolationist expats living locked in gated communities, thieves, and slums just as there are in the United States and every country in the world. But Costa Rica is still the gem of Central America with its working system of national health care, no army and a literacy rate higher than the U.S.