Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7-6-11 Burden of Proof

I don't know about you, but I find myself recoiling at the visceral response toward the jury that came back with an innocent verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Casey Anthony.

For those of you maligning the people who left their own homes and families and lives for weeks, who were tasked with the very stringent tests of guilt in examining each piece of evidence presented by the state, please take a step back. Do you, sitting in your armchair, having watched a couple of Law and Order series think for one moment you somehow could have reached a guilty verdict (doubtless overturned on appeal) when there was not one shred of evidence connecting the accused killer with the crime scene? Do you want to live in a society that would do so?

Yes, Casey Anthony is a horrible excuse for a human being. She is clearly involved in the death of her child. And Caylee deserved so much better.

But let's stop pillorying the jury and ask why there wasn't a more massive manhunt involved when her grandmother reported her missing? When the reports of suspicious activity in the woods near her home was reported only two months after she was last seen (August 11, 12, and 13), why wasn't there an exhaustive sweep of the area, where Caylee's remains, still able to tell so much more of her story and perhaps convict her killers, lay? The rains and standing water in Florida in late summer are washing away all traces of evidence day by day. When they held a search in September for a toddler who hadn't been seen since June, why did only 12 people show up? (Two months later, 1300 people volunteered. But by then, the media was paying for interviews.)

The whole thing is horrible and shocking and tragic.

But being innocent until proven guilty has to be worth more than lip service.

The burden of proof is certainly an almost impossible one to bear here.

And I believe its weight will be felt most keenly by these 12 people for the rest of their lives, not because they reached a not-guilty verdict, but because so many of their fellow Americans will blindly throw away the protections of a justice system for blood lust. Shame on you.


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