I have neither interest nor opinion on the Casey Anthony acquittal.
I do have an opinion on the reaction to the acquittal, though. The word that best describes this reaction: visceral. On Facebook, folks are lamenting how stupid we Americans are, or at least twelve particular Americans, and how broken our system is, and how really terribly awfully difficult it was to watch that terrible awful woman’s reaction to the verdict that frees her.
I’m thinking: why are you watching then? Why does her reaction matter to you? Who can judge a human’s reaction to the announcement of her fate? Even hubs got into a wee bit of a familial Facebook debate on the topic.
It should be no surprise, then, that I avoid these publicized trials like the plague. What is this need to pick a side? What is the point of picking a side in a situation where you have no control nor firsthand knowledge?
How do folks so easily assume they know better than the twelve who sat and watched the trial, weighed the credibility of witnesses, took the judge’s instructions, and pored over the evidence?
Suddenly, I’m reminded why lynch mobs are a bad thing.
You’ll find no debate over facts of the case here. You’ll find a lively discussion at Stacy McCain’s Big Dog Blog, as usual. The best “pro-acquittal” comment is here, and the best “anti-acquittal” here.
In that comment string, reasonable minds are definitely differing as to the merits of the prosecution’s case. The jurors probably had differing opinions, too. Trouble is, they all have to agree in the end.
Trouble is, the system is set up to err on the side of letting the guilty free. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is a stiff standard. Is that gal guilty? Let’s see . . . the victim was two years old, she’s the victim’s mom, and she’s a lying eejit. So yes, she is likely guilty. More likely than not.
Oops. “More likely than not” is the standard in a civil trial, not a criminal one.
I know, I know, the CSI effect. Supposedly, folks aren’t willing to convict unless the case is wrapped up with Christmas bows, as tidy as the TV shows.
To those who blame the CSI effect, I ask: did it prevent Lizzie Borden’s conviction?
I repeat, the system is set up to err on the side of letting the guilty free. It stinks, sometimes. The murderer gets away with it, sometimes.
That fact is proof that the system is still working.
We should be more alarmed about an unchecked prosecuting government than an unhinged partying woman who may have killed her own child.
Cold? Maybe. But it’s cold comfort for the innocent whom the state still managed to wrongfully convict, even under the “reasonable doubt” standard.
Which is worse? The guilty going free, or the innocent getting convicted? As a liberty lover with a healthy suspicion of state power, I say: the innocent getting convicted.
Moreover, should I ever serve on a jury, I expect folks to respect my decision. That means I have to respect their decisions, too, doesn’t it?
A shorter Linda: Da Tech Guy.
Oh dear: She’s pregnant? Let’s hope not, for safety’s sake.
An even more interesting argument: it’s just a late-term abortion.
Instalanche! Thank you, Glenn Reynolds. Especially for the “read the whole thing.” Wow, I’m smiling.