Schrödinger’s Jury


Some of the most nerve-wracking times in my life — and, I think, in any trial lawyer’s life — are those moments between the jury’s signal that they have a verdict (here in Houston, two buzzes on the jury room buzzer) and the reading of the verdict. They’re almost surreal moments, in which I know that my client’s future has been decided by six or twelve people but don’t know for sure what the decision is.

In quantum terms, the state of the jury is a superposition of eigenstates: “guilty” or “not guilty.” Not until the first consonant of the verdict — “g” or “n” — is read does the wave function collapse into one of the two states.


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