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Thursday, July 7, 2011

PATRIOTIC SOAPBOX

I hope everyone in America had a wonderful 4th of July celebration.  Please forgive me while I get on my soapbox and do some of that chatting that I advertise in my blog title.  I especially apologize to visitors from other countries.

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Some of you realize that, in my job, I am often involved with the court system.  My contacts with our American court system have taught me that it is far from perfect.  I know that innocent people are sent to prison, and I know that guilty people are acquitted.  The people who are deciding the verdict are normal and human ~ they are people like you and me.  Jurors do make mistakes, but most of the time, these mistakes are made by good, honest people, who are performing their duty to the best of their ability.

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I will admit that I have not closely followed the “Casey Anthony” trial.  This post is not about the guilt or innocence of Casey Anthony.  However, I did not have to follow the trial to know that I am proud of the jury that returned the verdicts in this case!  I’m sure it would have been much easier for those jurors to return with a guilty verdict.  There could not be a more horrifying crime than the murder of a child.  Anyone would feel that someone should be severely punished for this crime.  pool etc

I cannot imagine how difficult it is to serve on a jury.  Before a jury deliberates, the judge reads instructions from our laws.  We’ve all heard the terms “innocent until proven guilty, and “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but have you ever thought of having to actually apply those terms to a decision as grave as life or death?  Had I not been exposed to the law, through my job, I’m sure I’d go into the jury box thinking that, of course the accused is guilty. Why else would the police charge them?  If I were listening to testimony about something the accused had done that I didn’t think was moral or decent, I’d probably form an opinion that they must be guilty.  I wonder if I would then be able to go to the jury room, remembering the laws that require jurors to begin with the assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and to remember that if I have a reasonable doubt about the guilt of the accused, I will need to vote for acquittal, regardless of what other bad things I heard about the accused during the trial? 

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I’ve seen it go the opposite way too many times. An innocent person is sent to prison, because a horrible crime has occurred, and a jury feels that they have the responsibility to punish someone for the crime.  The only person available for them to punish is the defendant, and during the trial they learned things about the defendant that made them not like him/her very much. firewrksI have seen innocent people convicted when there is absolutely no evidence that they committed the crime. I have heard interviews of jurors after a trial, when it was revealed  that in the jury room one juror (with a good imagination) made up a plausible story of how the accused had committed the crime, and the other jurors agreed that it could have happened that way, in spite of the fact that the story had nothing to do with any evidence presented at trial. The compulsion to find the accused guilty is so strong that jurors easily go along with a strong “made-up” story about what could have happened, as opposed to reaching a decision based on the evidence presented during the trial.

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The few snippets I saw on the news reports of this trial led me to believe that the defendant would be found guilty.  When I heard the verdict, I immediately thought of how difficult it must have been for this group of jurors to follow the law instead of their instincts.  Most of us have done something in our lives that we are not proud of.  I would hate to think that a jury of my peers would find me guilty of a crime, based on something I had done which had nothing to do with the crime.  If I’m being tried for a crime, I hope the jury would be basing their decision on proof presented at the trial, as opposed to something I had done that they (the jurors) thought was a bad thing to do. I believe that there are probably more innocent people imprisoned than there are guilty people acquitted, and I want to congratulate that Florida jury for their courage and wisdom in following the Judge’s instructions.   It’s not a perfect legal system, but it is the legal system these jurors had to work with, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for any of them.

God Bless America!

07/07/11~EDITED TO ADD:  I wrote this several days ago, but waited to publish it, in the hope that I would decide to delete it.  Sorry, I couldn’t do it.  I think I must have a death wish for this blog!

 

Thank you for your visit.  I apologize for my soapbox stand, and I promise I won’t get on my soapbox often.          

Laurie

 

25 comments:

xinex said...

I commend you or posting this, Laurie, for bravery. My only comment is Casey might not be guilty of murder but I think she should have been found guilty of neglect....Christine

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Christine, the State did not charge her with a neglect charge, so the jury could not judge her on that. For all I know, she is guilty of murder. If the prosecution did not prove that she was guilty of murder, I congratulate the jury for being able to acquit her. Laurie

Laurie said...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, it's the American way :)
. I, too can't figure out how she wasn't charged with abuse/neglect. I have to believe that her judgement will come in time and justice will be served one way or the other.

Mellodee said...

Yay Laurie!! Another sane voice is heard from! I'd like to ask you to go visit my blog in a little while. I, too, wrote a post a couple of days ago and couldn't decide whether or not to actually publish it. But now I will!

I KNEW I liked you!!

Mel

Nana's Fun Stuff said...

I admire you for writing this Laurie. You can bring a lot of insite to people who don't have to deal with the system from day to day. I didn't follow this case much but heard it more from the media side of things. It is not for me to judge, that is in a much higher hand. I just am sad that Caylee didn't have the chance to grow up. I do disagree that they let her off with not even neglect charges. I'm a mother and grandmother and can't even imagine not letting someone know within minutes if my child or grandbabies were missing.

But good for you writing this. I'm glad you didn't delete it :)

Phil said...

Said very eloquently. I couldn't agree more. You gotta love America. We have rules and sometimes people actually follow them!

Bonnie(wife-of-Phil!)

vignette design said...

Well said Laurie. I too didn't follow the trial closely but realized that for that jury to acquit, it must have been a tough decision. I sat in the courtroom for the entire trial of Scott Peterson. It was a real eye opener. I have such respect for that jury. To arrive at the decision of guilty, with a subsequent death penalty was not taken lightly by them. Neither did the jury for the Casey Anthony trial. Beyond a reasonable doubt.....that is the question. ~Delores

Anonymous said...

Anyone who did not follow this everyday, all day has no idea of the facts. How any mother who doesn't know where her two year old child was for 31 days couldn't be guilty of child neglect and abuse blows my mind. Any jury that doesn't take notes or ask questions already had their mind made up from the beginning. Shame on all of you who did not watch the whole thing and think you know all the facts.

Debbie said...

I haven't been able to blog since the end of last week because of this case. First, because I was too busy watching the rebuttal and closing statements, and then because my heart was and is so grieved over the verdict that I haven't felt like it. I also have a post that I wrote (well, sort of wrote) but just wasn't able to post it.

I'm the opposite of you. I did follow the case closely. In fact, I was just oddball enough to watch every single solitary piece of testimony. If I missed it in real time, I watched it in the evening on this Orlando website where you could watch a video of testimony that you missed.

( Yes...I know I should be WAY too ashamed to admit that, LOL. But I got sucked in early and purposed that THIS time (as opposed to OJ) I would watch testimony myself and not depend on summary from media. And so... I lost a precious month of my life. Good grief, Debbie!)

What I've noticed is that the more you watched of the actual testimony, especially the boring days (ACK!), the more certain you are that proof beyond "reasonable doubt" was met.

I won't try to change your mind, though. For one, we're not jurors so it doesn't matter one lick what we think. For another, you have the right to a different opinion than I so why should I try to change it?

I love the way Jeff Ashton has (repeatedly) defended the system and the jurors, even though he took a hard loss in this his final case.
He's a class act.

I'm convinced he looks like a grayer version of my husband, by the way, but I digress...)

I totally disapprove of those who want the names of jurors released to some sort of feeding frenzy! I think if jurors want to remain anonymous, they have that right. Remaining anonymous would keep them from profiting financially by interviews, too, and that's a good thing for the whole process.

The one thing that I will say is that there is no constitutional right to approval in the court of public opinion.

Great post from you on the matter, Laurie, even if we disagree on the guilt thing.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Laurie -- I enjoyed reading your side of this and I know you have given it great thought. While I was surprised with the verdict (knowing that I would not have wanted to be a juror of this case), I respect their decision. I don't think that they came to it lightly. The not guilty of murder I can see if there was resonable doubt raised-- but neglecting to report her missing is something that I'm really sorry to see not addressed in some way. There was no doubt about that. She chose not to report Caylee missing and no matter what happened to her, there is no excuse for it. It certainly would be endangerment and abuse in the form of neglect in my mind.

If she did "get away" with murder.....well, she has a much higher authority to deal with in the next life. I'm content with that because there are no doubts there, the truth is known.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Debbie, I'm not saying that the burden of proof was not met by the prosecution. I have no way of knowing, because, I didn't watch the trial. I just think the jurors must have not felt that there was proof presented that the defendant was guilty of murder.

Martha, Sadly, there is no Florida law that makes it a crime to not immediately report a missing child. I did read that one of their legislators is proposing such a law now.

I totally agree that, from where I sit, all of her partying and her lies, combined with the failure to report her child missing make her look guilty. Had I been on the jury, I would probably have felt a need to convict her based on those facts alone. That's why I'm so impressed with this jury. Those are not facts that prove that she is guilty of murder. I'm sure that the facts that were presented would have been enough to make most jurors want to convict her, so I know this was a difficult decision. Maybe there were facts presented that should have been proof that she had committed the murder, but if there were, this jury did not think those were facts that proved guilt. It has been my experience that most of the time, a jury is not able to put aside all of those bad things they heard about the defendant. OOOOPS! I got on my soapbox in the comment section now! Sorry again! laurie

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

I think we all should be able to state our views openly on our blogs without it hurting us. I too feel the jury did the best they could. I have worked for prosecutors for years and have served on a jury. We were not on that jury. However, in saying that someone hurt that baby. Duct tape, threw her away. She didn't do that to herself. And as I said on my blog, a loving caring mother could not go for 30 days without being a wreak looking for her child. But the jury has spoken. Possibly there wasn't enough done in the investigation. Whatever, I have peace that as my Grandma would say, it will all come out in the wash. You may have a death wish for your blog, but I don't. I enjoy you and your blog.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Anonymous, I am not professing to know the facts, and I don't think anyone who has commented here professes to know the facts. In my post, I say that I don't know the facts. The point I am trying to make is that I know it is much easier for a jury to find someone guilty than to render a not guilty verdict when they have heard so many bad things about a defendant. Yes, it is unimaginable that her child was missing without her making a report and frantically searching, but no, I do not believe that proves that she is guilty. Although I didn't watch the trial, in my heart, I believe that she is guilty. That is the reason that this jury impressed me. All of those horrible things that she did were not proof that she had murdered her child. On my soapbox again, laurie

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Laurie I am giving you a standing ovation for this post! I don't know if she was guilty or innocent. She was wrong on so many levels but did she kill her child? I don't know. I respect the Jury for their verdict! It was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt in their minds. They are sick about it but did what we should do....follow the law! It's what we have fought for and dies for... freedom and what we should hold as dear as we can.
On my soapbox again!
hugs, Linda

salmagundi said...

Laurie -- Thanks for sharing your expertise - that took courage on your part, too! God is our final judge, and knows what happens. It's up to HIM now. Sally

Debbie said...

Laurie, I wanted you to know that your post gave me the courage to finally post my thoughts on this.

THANK YOU!!! I really needed some sort of catharsis, and it helped to put it down.

I feel as if I can get back to the world of the living now.

~Tablescapes By Diane~ said...

Hi lovely ladies.
One day she will be judge by God!! He knows the True story of this sweet little Girl's death !! Thanks so much for sharing with us Laurie.
Diane

Miss Janice said...

Laurie,
It takes me forever to catch up with everything and get into my favorite blogs. On this Friday night, your blog came up and Lord have mercy...first post up--Casey Anthony post!

Living in Florida, this whole case has been in the news since the child was reported missing. I watched the trial from opening to closing statements and I was in the the courtroom of the Casey Anthony trial on Friday, June 24th. I personally believe that Casey killed her child. However, I respect the judicial system and accept the jurors' verdict.

Of course, this doesn't ease the bad feelings I have about the whole saga!

Great post Laurie!

Regards,
Miss Janice

Rebecca said...

Well written, Laurie. Don't apologize for your "soapbox stand". It's hard to separate heart from head in situations like this. Trials are NOT "soaps" and not even "reality TV"! In my opinion, the American public as a whole has been too shaped by both of these. It's easier to react than to think.

I'm not even sure trials should be televised.

I have sat on a jury (not murder case) and understand the difficulty of "judging" the reasonable doubt issue.

Sorry about MY ramblings...

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hi Laurie,
You are such a good writer and I am so impressed by your post.
Dan and I have watched it for 3 years now and are convinced that she murdered her child. But like you said so wonderfully, their must have been reasonable doubt presented to the jurors that made them come to this verdict.
Unless your in their shoes, sitting on that jury, how would we really know? I have been a juror and the legal part is what makes it different than just watching it unfold on tv.
Bravo to you dear friend,
Hugs,
Cindy

Tomarie said...

Hi ya Laurie! Thought I'd pop in to say hi and let ya know I haven't drown in my blow up pool! Lol!
I wasn't able to watch much of the trial, but now wished I could have. What is bothering me is how the jurors are being downright villainized!! Now matter what....I'm sure they did the best they could with what they thought they were supposed to do. I believe in karma...what ever Casey did (accidental or more)...she will suffer for them. OJ's life has never been the same....and neither will hers be. Our sins and wrong doings all come back to bite us....in one form or another! L~

Judie said...

Laurie, your post was excellent. You will find out just who your real fans are. I know that I have, when I get on my political soap box. But for every one who doesn't come back, one will join!

Even though I think Casey should be serving time for at the least negligent homicide, the jurors felt that there was reasonable doubt. The jurors did not hear about all the other stuff that was being dredged up about the Anthony family, and could only go by the testamony and the evidence presented. Even the sheriff and the prosecutor commended the jurors for doing their job.

Casey may not be going to prison, but she is already in a prison of her own making. She will never be able to live a normal life, nor will her family members.

Keep writing about the things you believe in. Other bloggers do.

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my post.

marieDee said...

I am one of those who got emotionally involved in the search for Caylee and in Casey's trial. I was surprised and disappointed that she was not convicted. I think that there was an equal amount of evidence as the Scott Peterson trial, and his jury convicted him. But I also know, from experience, that jurors have to work with what they're allowed to hear/see/consider and the instructions they are given. The jury on which I served (on a much less serious charge) was criticized in a couple of letters to the editor in the local paper for letting the "obviously guilty" man go free, but I felt that we did the best we could. I will try to assume the same for the Casey Anthony jury, even though it looked so obvious to me that she was shown to be guilty...not by any possible doubt but beyond a reasonable doubt. I am very disturbed by the venomous mob-mentality hatred expressed by so many for the jury, the defense, the entire Anthony family. I wish that we could use our energy to do something positive that might prevent tragedies like Caylee's death from happening to other children.

Anonymous said...

Havent been by in awhile but so glad I did. You are so right about this. Our legal system is not perfect but it is the best we have and better than alot of other countries. Even those that think they have "followed this case closely" were not there and do not know what the jury knows. It is what it is and it's time to move on and make the world better!

Lori

Cindy J. said...

Beautifully stated dear Laurie. I missed this and was just re-reading some of your wonderful posts. I so appreciate hearing your opinion on this matter. Our life's experience is meant to enable us to share incite that is unique to each of us. Miss you and hope all is well. Love, Cindy