Not many people can say they were both judge and juror. But Jamie Thistlethwaite can.
For two days last week, the Sonoma County Superior Court judge served on a jury, helping to acquit a man on drug and weapons charges.
Both sides in the case agreed to seat the former criminal defense attorney who was elected to the bench last year.
Thistlethwaite apparently sailed through the jury selection process, answering matter-of-factly that she was a judge when asked for her occupation.
Judy Conry, who represented defendant Rolando Deltorro-Herrera of Petaluma, figured it would be hard to find someone more committed to justice than a sitting judge.
“I was happy she wasn’t bumped,” Conry said.
It’s not unheard of that a judge is picked for a jury but it is rare. Judge Mark Tansil was a juror in a two-month civil trial in 2007. Judges Gary Nadler and Arthur Wick have been called but excused.
Thistlethwaite was picked Thursday on a panel that included a construction worker, a law office administrator and retired people. She and the others began deliberations the next morning and delivered not-guilty verdicts late Friday.
Thistlethwaite, who usually takes the bench in the courtroom next door, was not the jury foreperson.
Deltorro-Herrera had been to trial three times on the charges. The convicted felon got a hung jury at his first trial and a conviction that was overturned in the second.
Police said he had a gun and about an ounce of methamphetamine in his car but his lawyer maintained he was unaware it was in the car, which he had just purchased.