July 5 2011

Don't Fault the Jury - Our Justice System Works

Anna Rittgers

The jury's verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial has surprised most people, including me.   Casey Anthony received a fair trial, which is proof that our justice system works.  The Constitution and the rules of our justice system exist to protect the accused—not the victim. 

Nancy Grace and others in the court of public opinion may presume that a defendant is guilty.  In the court of law, the defendant is presumed innocent.   The prosecution bears the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt, and they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  That is a high hurdle.  

There will be plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking of both the prosecution’s presentation and argumentation.  Was this another manifestation of the CSI effect?  Did the jury buy the defense argument that Caylee accidentally drowned?  We won’t know until the jurors explain their reasoning. 

Perhaps the simplest explanation will bear out:  the prosecution simply failed to prove its case to the jury that Casey was responsible for the death of her 2 year old daughter, and the jury found her not guilty.

Though Casey was found “not guilty,” this does NOT mean that Casey is innocent. 

Parents have special duties to ensure their children are cared for and protected from harm.  One thing we are certain of is that Casey failed to report Caylee missing for several weeks, and then repeatedly lied to her family and to law enforcement officials investigating the case.  I do not believe an innocent mother would have acted in such a way.

But it doesn’t matter what I believe—nor does it matter what the general public thinks.  In a criminal trial, it only matters what the jury believes.  The jury can only assess the evidence that it is presented, and again, in our justice system, it is the job of the prosecution to prove someone’s guilt.   Don’t blame the jury for the outcome.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus