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Friday, July 26, 2013

Post Verdict Depression

  A second juror has exercised her right to speak out.  Standard Jury Instructions in Florida tell jurors they can talk with anyone they like or no one at all, it is their decision alone.  People within the court system come to understand the process over time, we are somewhat steeled against the frailties of a human system.  As we should all know, humans aren't perfect and, therefore, their systems aren't either.

  For this juror to ignore the truth of the outcome is somewhat revisionist.  First and foremost, George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder!  A jury of his peers, of whom she was one, has said he isn't.  He might be, could be, possibly is are all speculative assertions that have no place in a courtroom.  I always discuss that with a jury in closing arguments.  Each one of those positions equals "NOT GUILTY" in a legal sense.

  What this latest juror is experiencing is the regret that a young man died, another man ten years older killed him and in the eyes of the law as it stands in Florida, and most of the "common law" countries of the world, he is not guilty of a crime.  The verdict form in Florida ends with something along the lines of "so say we all" to verify that the verdict is unanimous.    Judges offer for either side to have the jury polled following the return of the verdict.  Judge Nelson did so in this trial.  This juror told the world it was her verdict.  Shame on any juror that returns a verdict that is not the truth. Innocent people can end up convicted and serving time and guilty people can go free.

  Now, if what the juror meant to say is that neither of the charges, murder in the second degree or manslaughter, were proven "beyond and to the exclusion of each and every reasonable doubt" then she was right.  This new and improved moral judgment, exclaimed to the world on national TV, is some manner of search for peace in her soul.  It also, in my opinion, crosses that biblical line of "judge not...!"  None of us were there with Messrs. Zimmerman and Martin!  None of us knows who the physical aggressor was!  The job of a juror in a criminal trial is not to make moral judgments but to serve as the "judge of the facts" and apply the law as given to them to those same facts.  Nothing more and nothing less!

  The question that comes to my mind is whether or not these people that are speaking out, the two jurors so far, are being compensated for telling their stories on these so called "news" shows?  If they are I think the networks and cable channels have an obligation to make that known so the viewing public can review their stories through the same "prism" the talking heads discussed on all the "post-game" Monday morning quarterbacking shows.  If they are telling their story as part of their feeling of an obligation to let the public know that is one thing.  If they are being paid then they are no better than the carnival hawkers of old and shame on them! 

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