The words of one of the jurors, Jennifer Ford, should give encouragement that many of our neighbors can rise above the Madame Defarge lynch-mob mindset. As Ms. Ford so well expressed it: "If they want to charge and they want me to take someone’s life, they have to prove it. They have to prove it, or else I’m a murderer too."
Duh. If there's any hope at all for this whole "rule of law" thing, that concept better damn well be buried deeply in the DNA of every juror of every trial, all the f#$kin' time. Make those malignant bastards work for every conviction they seek. Consider nullification every time, and do it when necessary, with absolutely no regard to "case law". And when they whine at you that you're making their jobs difficult, say "it's the least I can do for someone who will stab me in the back at his first opportunity". They want convictions, you want justice, and the two are not--let me repeat,
the same thing. You do not want their jobs to be "easier". You do not want them to want their jobs at all. You want them to feel like if they do something wrong, that they will pay personally, and severely. (That is, you want them to feel just like you do now. Note the "stab in the back" reference above.)
Anyway, Shaffer gets uncharacteristically contrived with his interlude imagery in the middle of this piece, but if you ignore that (and he's earned that sort of respect) it's typical gold.
I have no defense to make of Casey Anthony as a person or a mother. I don’t know that much about her to make any such judgment. Her alleged failure to notify anyone of Caylee’s being missing until thirty-one days later does not impress me as the epitome of responsible motherhood. But the jury was not assigned the task of judging this woman’s character. They understood what Dennis and Amelia did not: individuals are responsible for the consequences of their actions. In a world in which we have become accustomed to dealing with one another in highly abstract ways, it is easy for any of us to express opinions – or courses of action – without feeling any sense of responsibility for what we have put in motion.
Getting to the bigger point, as ever. RTWT, it's worth it.
By the way, on the same subject, if you haven't already, check out Balko's piece, and this marvelous follow-up at The Agitator:
If the argument you’re about to make begins this way:
I see the purpose of the whole “innocent until proven guilty” premise of our judicial laws, however ...
. . . just stop typing. Or talking. There really isn’t anything that can follow however that isn’t going to make you look foolish.
The response to the Caylee’s Law piece has been mixed. But a few of the angrier responses have been wonderfully absurd.
Balko does occasionally indulge in a prurient roast, a forgivable thing given the outstanding work he does every day, and I admit to laughing out loud at most of them.