I’ve seen several reactions across the blogosphere concerning the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial.
The Trial of All Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed. (US Constitution, Article III Section 2)
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. (Sixth Amendment)
The other issue is the jury itself. Lawyers tend to shy away from certain people during jury selection. For example, when I was in college, I was selected for jury duty. Being a political science major, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I was selected to be a potential juror for a case. Anyways, the potential jurors had to introduce themselves and state what their occupation was. When it came to me, I promptly introduced myself and stated my occupation was a college student. At that point, one of the lawyers asked me what my major was. Needless to say, when I said it was political science, I was struck by both lawyers. The judge also dismissed me from jury duty because, in his opinion, there was no way I would make it on any case as a juror. The simple fact was, I knew too much about the process. Lawyers generally don’t like that.
And finally, there is the issue of the phrase, “Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the burden of proof that the prosecution must meet in a criminal trial. What this means is for one to vote guilty, no reasonable doubt of the individuals guilt can be raised. If there is a reasonable doubt, one should vote ‘not guilty.’ But what is a reasonable doubt? This phrase is open to interpretation by each individual member of a jury. What is reasonable to one person might not be reasonable to another. If I was on a jury and was charged with determining the guilt of an individual and that my decision constituted life in prison or a death sentence, I’d want to be pretty damn sure that person was guilty. I would want to be able to say that my conscience was clear.
I really didn’t follow the trial, but from what I’ve read online, I think the jury blew this case. Anyways, just my thoughts. I agree with Joel on this one. Not guilty doesn’t mean innocent.