To those hysterical over the verdict:

  1. Don’t forget, the prosecution---via voir dire---participates in the selection of jurors. Any jurors they feel have any kind of a bias against, not only convicting, but voting the death penalty are excused with a challenge. And, better yet, they would prefer jurors who are simply more likely to vote guilty than not guilty. Also, it is common knowledge in the trial lawyer community that jurors who are accepted (by the prosecution) in a death penalty case, are also more likely to vote guilty on the guilt phase.
  2. The jurors have a sworn duty to follow and apply the rules of law---whether they personally agree with those rules or not. This includes the instruction on reasonable doubt, which is greater than a hunch, a suspicion, a ‘probably did it’, and the like. There is also a burden of proof in a civil case, and it’s not just ‘maybe’ or possibly’ liable; the burden in a criminal case is greater still.
  3. Obviously, this was Florida. However, presumably there is a similar instruction to that in California which dictates that in a case based wholy or substantially on circumstantial evidence, in order to vote guilty, not only must the circumstances be consistent with guilt, but those circumstances also must be inconsistent with any hypothesis of an absence of guilt.
  4. There is no doubt that the jurors, before they returned their verdict, were WELL aware of the disapproval a verdict of ‘not guilty’ would bring. Notwithstanding that, they found in accordance with their good faith analysis of ALL the evidence in the entire trial knowing full well that that would bring a whole lot of heat, disfavor and contempt.
  5. Having tried many jury trials myself, I can assure everyone that had even a single juror---let alone 2, 3 or more---tended to favor a vote of guilty, based upon the evidence, the jury would have been out WAY longer than the short period of time they took to actually deliver the verdict. I have personally seen---many times---jurors take 2, 3 or 4 days to decide the simplest case that took only a half day to try, not 5-6 weeks. Therefore, the fact that the jurors returned their verdict so quickly implies that it was pretty clear, right out of the batters box, that the prosecution’s proof fell clearly short of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, don’t forget that the alternate juror interviewed right after the verdict was returned said that he, too, would have voted not guilty. That’s 13 out of 13. Had the other alternate jurors felt the same as these 13, that would be even more persuasive that the prosecution’s proof simply was not there.
  6. For those screaming meemies who heard nothing other than miniscule---relative to the totality of evidence and cross-examination comprising the case---bits and pieces, or, are big fans of the unbiased and impartial Nancy Grace, I would suggest that they lobby for a new kind of verdict:  “We, the jury in the above entitled matter, because we hate the defendant, elect to find the defendant guilty even tho his/her guilt has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt; we just don’t care about that technical crap”.

 

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Comment by Amy Caswell on April 29, 2012 at 3:06pm

Thank you, I've been explaining these concepts to people every time they talk about it and get upset.

Comment by Brian George on July 11, 2011 at 7:20pm

Both the alternate and full(?) juror I've heard speak on the verdict have both said that they didn't believe she was "innocent", just that the prosecutions evidence did not convince them beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

There is now a large effort to put on the books a law that parents or guardians of minors must report a child's disappearance within a specific amount of time. That this isn't already a law surprised me. I think in this case had the disappearance been reported right away, the prosecutions evidence would have been much stronger, as much of it was destroyed or degraded in the month before the child was reported missing. I think this law needs our full support.

 

I do believe the jury did what it should have done. They followed the law as instructed, and returned a verdict that they felt was correct based on their instructions.

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