I’m Lady Justice. Thank you for listening, I’m always welcome to a healthy debate.
In the past week, the Houston area has had two long-awaited, highly publicized murder trials conclude, or in both cases a cliffhanger. Both highly anticipated trials ended in deadlocked juries resulting in mistrials.
Although the court of public opinion, one has little to know facts of the case, have all but damned these people to hell and cannot or refuse to understand how these juries could not convict? How do they not put their heads in the rusty gallows for all the world to see?
Was justice served? Or injustice?
Frustration with the System
This feeling of disappointment for the majority of the media viewing public isn’t new. The OJ Simpson trial, The Casey Anthony trial, and the George Zimmerman trial are three that stand out as jaw-dropping outcomes as in all three the accused have been acquitted and cannot be retried for those crimes. Other than the result they share little in common. Different circumstances, different races and different legal teams. OJ had the dream team, and Casey Anthony had an unknown public defender. However with each disclosure of the jury’s decision the outrage is the same.
The American public all concluded that justice was not so much as right or wrong, innocent or guilt, but how much justice could you afford.
To understand you need to follow a few things. One in America you are innocent until proven guilty, it is the state’s burden to prove guilt BEYOND a reasonable doubt. Jurors are given the law as it’s understood in their particular case and based on that and the evidence presented they face an enormous task, one that holds the accused life in their hands. That is a huge responsibility to ask 12 law abiding citizens to take on, for basically free and actually at a cost to them.
They are forced to miss work, without pay, unless their employer chooses to pay them. Jurors are away from their families until the outcome is determined. They don’t get to tweet or Facebook their feelings. No, they eat, sleep and breath the trial. In recent years with the ever-developing of forensic science and DNA, we are seeing more and more people who were wrongfully convicted be exonerated based on forensic, scientific evidence. Many had spent decades of their lives, the prime of their youth behind bars. Moreover, we will never know the number who have been executed and were not guilty.
The Fate of 12
Some may ask why you would choose to be on a jury? They don’t get a choice. It is their civic responsibility, and if they avoid it without substantial evidence that their circumstances forbid them from being able to, they can be incarcerated. I can see some saying well this isn’t fair. You should volunteer. However when our judicial system was put into place, having a jury of your peers was the most reasonable way to determine the accused would get a fair trial and justice served. Both legal teams carefully select the jury they feel will look at the case and the facts presented as they pertain to their client. It’s a checks and balances system that is vital to the fairness of our judicial system.
In the past three years and more daily. I see people convicted at the point of accusation. With a camera in every hand, social media running 24/7 and everyone wanting to be ahead of the game people see themselves slandered on a regular basis. The irony of camera evidence is rarely was the camera running before the epic moment took place.
There is no video evidence of the events leading up to the situation but a mob thirsty for a million likes. The police departments have become as bad as the people. Posting pictures of someone accused of a crime and branding them as a criminal, warning the public about them, never mind the accuser could be lying. Unfortunately, if the police say you did it, it has to be true. It scares me for our future.
Justice In the End
I’m even more scared that both these trials, both that I haven’t reviewed the evidence and I do not have an opinion about, ended as mistrials. It truly bothers me. It tells me that the heat jurors in other sensational trials received so much hate that today’s jurors are scared to make a final decision. A mistrial still allows the state to retry. The media has become highly irresponsible for their reporting practices. Everyone is so quick to get the story out.
They don’t even spell check before they release a story, let alone fact check. The public hears a death, followed by an arrest and the accused is always guilty, without any evidence supporting that. The police get put under pressure to “build a case, ” and the prosecutors get put under pressure to present a case and most times they are overreaching with charges out of fear of the public backlash
Does the suspect now have a chance to see justice served? Are the victim and his or her family going to see justice served? Will society see that justice? Or are we just filming the next episode of 48 Hours on the taxpayer’s dime?
Our judicial system is unique and should be respected. Until you are in that seat, looking at the evidence you have available to you, which is not what the news shares with us, you cannot understand why the jury came to the conclusion it did. Having a person’s future in your hands is not something to take lately, and knowing you were pressured to convict when you felt it was wrong is a horrible feeling. Sometimes accidents happen, and there is no one to blame. Sometimes bad people do bad things, and even with a conviction no one goes home feeling better. The pain is the same regardless.
Stay classy America. We are better than this.
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