Thursday, July 07, 2011

Casey Anthony: Where's the Justice in that?

Ok, a quick point on a case I never thought I'd ever post on, a case I didn't follow, a case which either caused me to flip the channel or pause the news for a few minutes so I could then zoom past it - which I suppose I do with nearly all 'Media Courtroom Cases'. But with that being said... there's something to be said about the matter which is currently going under the name of the 'Casey Anthony Murder Trial'.

I heard the Mom's story; do I think she's guilty? Yes. Does that matter? It had better not! It doesn't matter what you or I or any of the public think, and it shouldn't matter. Was she guilty? That's not the issue - she was found not guilty in a court of law, that's the issue.

Justice, in a Just society, is not about the judgment of one person, a dozen people or the entire population, Justice is about the system of justice, which should require an orderly presentation of information, information which has to pass objective rules of evidence and order, and be argued according to reasonable rules of conduct in an adversarial arrangement. The only 'Trial' news worth hearing, IMHO, is whether or not the procedures of the judicial system were followed. If they were, then as far as society is concerned, justice was done.

Why? Because only the guilty person and God know what really happened - and they aren't talking.

That means we need to have a system which all of us can trust... a system where we can believe we'd have the fairest possible chance ourselves if we were ever caught up in it, where the accused, and the accuser, are both allowed to make their best case, so that a jury of their peers can evaluate it - in accordance with those same rules - in order to render their best, most justifiable, conclusion, the verdict of having been found to be Guilty, or Not Guilty, based upon the rules of evidence presented in a court of law.

That is the best that can be hoped for in society, and as far as society is concerned, that IS Justice. Could the jury have been wrong about whether she truly killed her daughter or not? Sure, no jury is perfect. You know what? Neither are you. Or me. With that fact in mind, the best we can do is set up a system that is Just, and follow it, even and especially when we feel a particular judgment is wrong.

The alternative? See any third world country for evidence of blood lust and vendettas waged by those who are deeply convinced they are pursuing and seeing that 'justice' will be done. Or read Aeschylus’s ’The Orestia’ to see why and how the West tamed the Furies and left that nightmare of savagery behind.

Do you sort of agree with all of that but want to argue whether the people of the jury, the attorneys or the judge were up to the task of carrying out and implementing our system of Justice?

That's a matter you should take up with what you and your society considers, or neglects to consider, to be the purpose of Education. Once you've settled upon what Education is for, then and only then, take a look at whether or not your educational system is up to putting that purpose into practice upon your children and society... including juries ability to follow arguments in your judicial system. Hint: Your societies impression of what the purpose of Education is - sucks. Consequently, the educational system really sucks. And because of that, we get attorneys, judges and juries who are perhaps prone to, or even incapable of anything but, gross miscarriages of justice.

But that's beside the point, isn't it?

Do I think she's guilty? Yep, guilty as hell.

Does that matter? Nope, thank God.

Our society, however diminished, is still one governed by the Rule of Law and not one driven by the impassioned feelings of men, and that right there, is true justice in action.


Benjamin Evans said...

Better to allow a guilty man to go free, than to put an innocent man in jail.

A criminal defendant does not have to prove innocence (they do not even have to present a case), rather the prosecution has to prove guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. If anyone is to blame for the verdict, blame the prosecution for either putting up a bad case, or seeking unreasonable charges.

Rosemary said...

I think the prosecution did err in seeking the death penalty because they lacked significant forensic evidence of guilt. That being said, how could those jurors find no fault when it came to child abuse? Someone parties when their child is missing? Someone puts their child in a situation where harm can befall him/her? If that's not child abuse, I don't know what is. "Not guilty" on the murder charge may be defensible, but not on some of the other charges.

Van Harvey said...

Ben said "Better to allow a guilty man to go free, than to put an innocent man in jail."

Yep. The alternative to that is that you allow the letter and process of the law to be breached to satisfy the whims of men, and in doing that you enable anyone having the power (or anyone willing to bribe them for it), to designate anyone - as they feel the need, urge or whim to - as being guilty.

With that the entire system and meaning of Law and Justice are bodily thrown out of court, the Rule of Law is gone, and the say-so of men (soon to be Tyrants) is given the force of law.

I'm... gonna say that's probably a bad thing.

Sandi (from FB) said...

Was justice served and was the jury wrong are two different things. A little girl is dead. Justice was not served. Is the jury wrong? That depends on whether you think the prosecution proved its case, not whether you think the mom is guilty. She probably is.

Van Harvey said...

Whether or not a Wrong was redressed, or whether or not Justice was served, are two very different things. Justice, in the societal sense, is Not morality. It often serves it of course, but Justice within society is the Law applied in such ...a way as to uphold and defend the rights of all, and to do that, as the statue shows, blindfolded to what we believe we might Know. A little girl had her life ripped away from her... that is a moral issue which can never be fully redressed, made right or atoned for by any system of Justice, if that is what is looked for with the question "Was Justice done?", the answer will forever be "No!", no matter the verdict or sentence.

We, as a society, Have to adhere to a process which is, to the best of our capability, a system that will address legal issues in the most reasonable, impartial and fair manner which we can achieve. When we carry out that process, correctly, and to the best ability of the court - no matter the result - Justice IS done.

We cannot truly know what only God and the guilty do, and to act as if we can, will only guarantee regression towards savagery. Aeschylus’s Orestia should be required reading - as it once was - for nothing else so well describes the inner turmoil, strains and horrors that had to be overcome, individually and as a society, in situations just like this, in order for the West to graduate into a civilized society.

A better question might be could we face that test ourselves? Could I be content with the judicial process if that had been done to one of my kids and I was sure I knew who did it? I hope so. I won't pretend to know for sure though. I would however know the system I faced if I failed the test.

(Previous comment, and this, carried over from facebook side)