Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trial by Jury

"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer" -- William Blackstone.

Today, a jury in Florida found Casey Anthony "not guilty" of first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter or aggravated child abuse.  To those of us occasionally caught up in the story and trial, the verdicts came as a shock.  I think many, perhaps even the jurors themselves, believe Casey was somehow culpable in the death of her daughter.  But the evidence was obviously not enough to convince a jury of Anthony's peers that she was guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" of murder.

Cheney Mason, one of Anthony's defense attorneys, blasted the media in a post-verdict press conference.  The media's obsession with the trial and murder certainly did have an effect on public opinion, but what does this all say about our judicial system and trial by jury?  It is not by any means perfect, but the alternative is hardly palatable.  Is there a difference between law and justice (I'm watching Alan Dershowitz on Piers Morgan right now)?  I think these are all very interesting questions to ponder with our peers and within our classrooms and this trial certainly provides an interesting case study.

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