Remember how mad many got at me? About 20 years ago? For the VERY SAME THING that some are mad at me now?
Consider this: who has changed – my critics (past and now present) or me?
Here it is:
I defended the jury in the OJ Simpson criminal case. I never said I thought OJ Simpson was innocent. I defended the jury system and some (many?) morphed that defense of the jury system into something else. Whatever…some did not want to listen, just fight.
I do defend juries and the system because the jury system is very important. I defend juries. Period. I did before, I have since and I do now. Juries are not perfect but you tell me a better system some place in the world. I can’t find it. But until I do find it, I am not going to tear down the best there is. Are you?
Think back to the Simpson criminal case…the Simpson jury concluded – unanimously – that the prosecution did not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. They did not conclude he was innocent. Juries are not asked that innocence question – they are only whether the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt each element of each crime alleged. If a juror has just one reasonable doubt (eg that perhaps someone else had motive? opportunity?) they are required to return a verdict of not guilty – it is not an option. It is a requirement.
The OJ Simpson jury was sequestered for months, they were drafted and essentially forced to participate, chosen by both the prosecution and the defense, and given evidence by both the prosecution and the defense. There was ‘equal opportunity‘ for both prosecution and defense. That makes it fair.
Here is what you also need to know: the Simpson jury, like all juries, saw a different trial than we all did. We, for example, heard the arguments by lawyers about evidence that was never ruled admissible and thus the jury never heard it or saw it. Only we heard it.
Jury verdicts are not whether the mobs agree with the outcome — they are about hearing legally admissible evidence, working together with co-jurors (deliberations), and rendering the unanimous verdict based on the evidence presented.
When the trial was over, the jury in the Simpson case – like the jury now in the Zimmerman case – got trashed. I thought that horrible at the time….I think it is horrible now. It is not whether I agree with the verdict (Simpson or Zimmerman) or not (and I have neither heard all the evidence nor sat in their jury box like the jury!) it is whether we respect the system.
How are we ever going to get citizens to participate in justice if we trash them and threaten them after they do their jobs?