Is now the time to think about amending the United States Constitution with regard to court trials being judged by a jury of our peers? Perhaps, it may be advisable to take a look at two horrendous criminal trials by a jury that exonerated the defendants who were blatantly guilty. In comparison, innocent defendants found guilty and given life or death sentences remained in prison for decades only to be found innocent decades later. Nearly three thousand convicts were released from prison over the past twenty-three years usually due to DNA proving their innocence. The leading cause of wrongful convictions is unreliable witness testimony.
A highly regarded New York Private Investigator assisted his client’s attorneys defending a man accused of multiple federal crimes by gathering evidence that proved the client was innocent even though the United States Government spent two million dollars to establish the client’s guilt. The government failed to turn up a single piece of evidence to prove the client committed any crime. But for the grace of God, although there was a jury present, the judge dismissed the case due to Prosecutorial Misconduct. Read about this case
The OJ Simpson case is one example of a guilty defendant found not guilty after insurmountable and irrefutable evidence was presented to the jury that demonstrated that OJ and only he could have committed that double murder. Yet a jury of his peers gloating over the “Juice” and “Mr. Hertz” sitting in front of them in the courtroom ignored all of the evidence and found him not guilty. But the Juice showed his true colors in Las Vegas and spent over ten years in prison. Too bad it wasn’t a life sentence.
America’s illicit drug epidemic is running rampant, and none of us know which juror might be under the influence of an opioid, heroine marijuana or inebriated on alcohol while sitting in the jury box. How many jurors actually know the rule of law? Jurors are told a story by the prosecutor and the defense attorney who struggle to find the right words simple enough to get the jurors to understand what they are trying to covey. Defendants should have a fair and impartial trial. To obtain that, quite honestly the only person in a courtroom qualified to render a verdict of guilt or innocence is the judge. A judge attends law school for several years, has to take a rigorous bar examination, then go on to practice law, and perhaps teach law over several years. A judge may have been a prosecutor or a criminal defense lawyer before becoming a judge. Judges have the knowledge and years of experience practicing law. They recognize legally obtained, irrefutable evidence. Who is more qualified to acquit or punish a defendant than a judge?
When it comes to meting out justice, Americans deserve better than “a jury too ignorant to convict Casey Anthony, who murdered her beautiful toddler, left her dead in the trunk of her car while she went dancing at a disco. She then tossed her child’s body on the side of a road where it was dismembered by rodents. The prosecutors presented unequivocal evidence that Casey killed her child.
The defense spun a story to the jury that the toddler climbed up and into a portable pool, drowned and that Casey’s father hid the body. Absolutely nothing pointed to Casey’s father doing that or harming that beautiful little child, but the jury just didn’t like Mr. Anthony, and Casey walked out a free murderer. Even the judge was stunned at the not guilty verdict. Relying upon twelve well-intentioned jurors with no legal education amounts to an unbalanced judicial system in America.