Tuesday, July 05, 2011

And One for the Unpopular Opinions Department

Whether I think she is guilty or not doesn't matter, because I was not on that jury, I didn't hear the full arguments, I didn't examine any evidence; I only heard the news reports, which, I am not alone in noticing, utterly failed to presume innocence until proven guilty. Based on what evidence has been wafted in front of me, I think she is certainly guilty of criminal child neglect -- I am not sure, legally, whether that justifies a child abuse conviction in her state -- but that's beside the point.

Right now I'm more bothered by how the jury is being raked over the coals than the question of whether justice can ever be served in regard to the victim.

It is the prosecution's obligation to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This prosecution sought a murder conviction without being able to name, let alone prove, a cause of death. I thought the prosecutors in the O.J. case were arrogant, but these are far worse -- these prosecutors assumed the jurors could be told what to believe and they'd believe it, with or without evidence to back it up.

Mourn publicly for that little girl, but stop telling me what idiots those jurors are. I'd vote to acquit someone of murder even if I thought she was probably guilty if I didn't think the case had been proven. I'd do that every time before I'd cheer on a conviction based on the standards of proof of the media and the court of public opinion. If I ever needed a reminder of why, I'd look at a photo of Ethel Rosenberg.

People serving on a jury are not audiences watching sensationalist news infotainment. This jury apparently took seriously its charge not to convict unless the burden of proof had been met. I can applaud them for that at the same time I can say that I think a woman who murdered her child will never be punished by the legal system for it. That's a failing of the police and the attorneys, the professionals in this case -- not the jurors.


Dilys said...

Bravo! I am sure the jury did not relish the job they had to do, a thankless task that took them away from their lives for so long a time and burdened them with life and death decisions they the would have rather left to other people. But, if all twelve of those people voted not to convict, then the prosecution did not prove their case. Part of the problem was finding the body so long after death, part was being misled over and over by the woman herself. While you might think her a liar and a dreadful mother, the jury could not find EVIDENCE to convict her of murder. The defense does not have to prove she didn't do it, they only have to point out reasonable doubt, it's up to the prosecution to bear the burden of proof. The jury did its job, and I am sorry for them and all the vitriol the press and public are charging them with. They deserve our respect and our gratitude for performing such an onerous task that they knew would be unpopular. They maintained their integrity in the face of overwhelming pressure! Bravo to them!

littlereview said...

I think the jury made clear that they found her responsible for the child's death by convicting her of lying to police, and if she'd been charged with the crime of which she was unquestionably guilty, criminal child neglect, she'd have gone to prison for a long time. But the prosecutors insisted on trying her for a crime for which they did not have evidence, and now she will be out within days.

Dilys said...

ruathaYes, and it gives me chills to hear her say she wants another child, or would adopt! What agency in their right mind would give that woman a dog or cat much less a baby!

She definitely allowed that baby to come to harm and die, and then didn't even care enough for the child to see she got a proper burial. I am heartsick over the death of that little girl and over the state's arrogance in trying her for something they could not prove instead of for the crimes for which they may have had more evidence. It may seem that she will be free in days but . . . she will never be free again. However given her shallow behavior, perhaps she just won't even notice or blame everyone else for her being trapped by her lies and the death of her daughter.