July 8th, 2011, 12:33 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Greeneville, Tennessee
Okay sportsfans, for me at least, this synopsisizes what a lot of us believe and pretty much underlines why many of us believe what we do as regards the case.
I don't agree with the severity of the jury system as does the following (an e-mail that was forwarded to me) but it does show that there are always flaws in any system and I firmly believe we just obseerved one. At any rate, it's food for thought.
1. The Verdict Is In About Those Jurors
I hadn't paid much attention to the Casey Anthony trial; it didn't seem like much of a political story, the subject matter is almost unimaginably grim -- I find fatherhood makes reading about dead children almost unbearable in almost any context -- and it seemed emblematic of the worst impulses of the celebrity-legal-journalism complex.
But maybe there is a bigger story here, a controversy that ran hot in the mid-1990s after the O. J. Simpson trial and faded in a decade marked more by terrorist mass murder than celebrity murderers: the notion that Americans are losing their last wisps of faith in the jury system.
At Hot Air, Allahpundit watches a stunning interview with one of the jurors and finds, at least at face value, that she did not understand some key facts about what was going on -- that they could have found the defendant guilty of charges beyond murder one and that the penalty would be considered in a separate phase of the trial. We know our legal system is imperfect, but can we live in a country where murderers walk free because jurors fundamentally misunderstand their duties and the options before them? Allahpundit:
To begin with, as far as I've always understood, a jury's not supposed to consider the penalty when deliberating about guilt. The defendant's guilty or not based on the evidence; you worry about punishment after you answer that question. If she's saying that her findings of fact would have been different had a nonevidentiary variable been changed, then she's actually practicing a subtle form of nullification here. I don't know, maybe Florida law is different. Either way, there's no way to stop a jury from considering whatever it wants to consider, proper or not.
Could be all she's saying is that the prospect of death drove home to the jury that this wasn't a game, that they had to scrutinize the prosecution's murder narrative with their most skeptical, exacting eye. Okay -- but then why'd they acquit her on manslaughter and aggravated child abuse too? Did the jury perhaps mistakenly believe that those crimes also carried the death penalty? A quote from the clip: "If they'd charged her with other things, we probably could have convicted or, you know, got a guilty sentence, but not for death. Not for first degree." But . . . they did charge her with other things. The whole reason the prosecution made the lesser included offenses available was to give jurors an alternative in case they found the evidence of malice aforethought shaky or, I guess, in case they got squeamish about capital punishment. Even Alan "The System Worked" Dershowitz admits that "There was sufficient circumstantial evidence from which the jury could have inferred homicide." If this juror's saying that they were inclined to send her to prison had death not been on the table, well, they could have taken death off the table themselves and sent her to prison anyway.
At times like this, I'm driven to some classic mid-1990s Dennis Miller:
The frightening reality is every day this society seems to make its legal decisions in much the same way the Archies picked their vacation spots -- blindfold Jughead, give him a dart, and spin the globe. And what do most of these mindless decisions have in common? Well, twelve things -- the jury . . . The entire American legal system is based on the premise of trial by jury and the only way you can get on a jury is if you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don't know [squat] about the case you are about to try.
On the Casey Anthony case, Miller's style and thinking haven't changed much in the past 15 years or so:
I think the system held up in one regard. You're guaranteed a jury of our peers and she's a moron, and they found 12 other morons to form a moron baker's dozen down there. I think it should be like the NFL, where you get that red flag, and during the case if you hear something that you don't like you can stop it right there and go, "I'm voting guilty right now." And I would have stopped it when they said her 2-year-old was lost and she waited 30 days to call the cops. I would have just thrown my flag and said, "Guilty. I don't even need to know what the rest of it is, give her some time." Because anybody who waits 30 minutes, much less 30 days, she's guilty of something. I don't quite know what it is, but something bad; something rotten in Denmark.