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another OJ Trial
7/6/2011 - Jackie Reed

I don’t wish to spend too much time on the trial, since everyone else is appropriating that bandwidth,  however I think it’s worth taking perspective. To do that I chose a woman and lawyer named Jamie Floyd who was at one point an analyst on the old Court TV before it morphed into TruTv.  The title of the piece was Why Casey Anthony 'Got Off,' and Why it Matters.  The entire piece deserves to be read but here’s enough to put things into historical and constitutional perspective

trials have always been a source of entertainment in this country. From colonial times to the present, trials have provided the public with a source for ritual and drama. Before the dawn of mass communication, the courthouse provided one of the few diversions available…

Criminal trials, in particular, provide protection for the rights of the criminal defendant. Our constitution balances the tension between the public’s desire for retribution against the greater societal goal of justice. The trial is the defendant shield against the societal sword of revenge.

So, the fair trial/free press debate, which was highlighted again by the Casey Anthony trial, is as old as the republic and the dilemma has long history: The robbery and murder trial of Sacco and Vanzetti (1920), the so-called Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping Trial” (1935), the trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard for the murder of his wife (1954), which inspired the television series and movie The Fugitive, the McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials (1987-1990) and of course, the OJ Simpson murder trial (1995).

As for the verdicts in the Casey Anthony trial, the OJ Simpson trial or any other case in which the public may be dissatisfied, I commend you the greatest line from John Adam’s closing argument in the Boston Massacre case:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

The “dictates of our passion” should never determine the outcome of a criminal case - not in a free country, and certainly not under our constitutional system of justice.

And one final word.  I heard a discussion took place on twitter which went something like this.

Twitter one: If she had been black she would have been convicted.

Twitter Two:  If she had been black no one would have known.

Again, the entire article or blog can be found… http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/its-free-blog/2011/jul/06/why-casey-anthony-trial-good-our-constitution/

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