On Casey Anthony and the Power of the Jury System #caseyanthony
So this morning I was awake. After two attempts at sleep, the 80 degree apartment was doing me no favors, nor were the loud people watching a movie in the apartment below mine. I was troubled by some things that have nothing to do with the law, but some things that have everything to do with the law.
There's been a lot of chatter lately about the Casey Anthony verdict and how unjust it was. There is chatter coming from Florida legislators about what a travesty of justice this verdict was and how they need to craft a legislative "fix".
Bullshit. Plain and simple.
This was a very hard case with very hard issues of proof. Its the burden of the prosecution to prove each and every element of the crime.
They have to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.
And in the minds of at least one juror, but likely more, there was reasonable doubt to be had.
Now, this was a very very emotional case. It involved an adorable little girl whose mother, quite frankly, didn't give a shit about her. That much is evident through her partying even shortly after the death. She simply didn't want to be a mom.
I get that.
The jurors got that.
They knew this case was being televised. They saw the cameras. They're no fools.
In the face of the pressure to convict this shitty parent who obviously screwed up in some very big ways, the jury chose to express their doubt.
I want you to think about that.
Every day, thousands of public defenders saddle up and go to trial. Sometimes the facts are not in their favor. Sometimes the circumstantial evidence is thin. Most of the time race plays a factor. The overwhelming majority of these cases result in someone being convicted of something, even though the jury likely had reasonable doubt. Why they let this happen is beyond me. Sometimes its easy to see a small theft case as merely a nuisance, and if they're wrong...even if there is reasonable doubt in their minds, they still convict to play it safe. They'd rather risk sending someone to jail or prison because if they're wrong, it means they might be a little less safe in their day to day lives. So they have no problem convicting an innocent person. This is the foundation of Ball's Reptile. So even though the jury instructions tell the jury that they must acquit if they have reasonable doubt, they convict. This also means that far more innocent people will go to jail than should.
So this jury, these twelve people, they had reasonable doubt on one of the elements of two of the crimes. At least that. We don't know if there is more, because we are not entitled to know their deliberations. Rightfully so. If we knew, we could influence and manipulate them specifically. As much as all of us (at least the lawyers) want to see those deliberations outside of the vacuum we create in focus groups, we all know that we shouldn't have that access. It would prevent people from being candid in their discussions.
Yesterday, those twelve people felt reasonable doubt. In spite of pressure from damn near the entire United States and a lot of the rest of the world, they expressed their doubt.
That makes me proud and gives me a renewed hope in the jury system.