Friday, July 8, 2011

Preconceived Notions Between 12 Peers Casey Anthony and the American Justice System

The Casey Anthony verdict is still the hot topic in my neighborhood.  I am wondering if they took a poll across the globe from all who have followed the case......what percentage of people would say that they would have voted "not-guilty"? I'm thinking it would be about less than 1%?  So where did they find 12 of these people? I am still shocked at the outcome but when I think about it I guess I am not really completely amazed.

After serving on 2 Jury cases...I came out of the experiences telling people that I have absolutely no faith in the system. Granted--- I have no unique ideas or thoughts on how to make it a better system that works....I just don't have any faith in the one we have going.  :)  I used to always get so cheesed at people who simply complain about things and have no other input except a complaint or a whine---but I guess that's me in this case :).
I have been saying for years and years that my worst nightmare would be to have to go before a jury and be judged in the American Justice System.  So of course people tell me "Okay then don't break the law and you've got no worries" !   But innocent people sometimes do have to go on trial and defend themselves...people who have broken zero laws sometimes find themselves at the MERCY of 12 JURORS--- the first case I ever served on was one where the State of California was fighting to retain conservatorship on this guys' $ and affairs.  The guy was extremely wealthy, had several degrees, and I remember when I walked into the courtroom I thought he was one of the lawyers :).  He had some mental problems and had to be on medication and the State gave one  example of where he was found standing in the middle of the road in front of his house in his underwear because he hadn't taken his meds properly--but he had never posed a threat or any danger to anyone....So basically the dude wanted to live his own life and the state wanted control of his money . During the trial he would holler out "I object!" and things like that and it was almost funny except it wasn't---it was his quality of life and freedom that we were deciding on here---and it kind of pissed me off to begin with because I thought that if he didn't have money the state wouldn't give a damn about him in the first place.

So ....when we go to deliberate the first thing we did was to go around the table just to state our overall thoughts of the case--and I was of the mind-set that a live- in nurse and some sort of supervision would be what was best for this man who had never posed a threat to anyone.  The gal sitting next to me was an elementary school teacher---she says "Absolutely not!  He could go crazy and shoot a bunch of innocent children just like what happened last week up North!"  (Indeed a man had just killed a bunch of children at random on a school playground).  But here is where the preconceived notions come into play.  A very well educated woman for some reason thinks that all people who have some sort of mental problem might go crazier and kill innocent people.! ME...I think that anyone might go crazy and kill someone so I guess by her theory we should all be under constant supervision.   Anyways I know that people do not just leave their preconceived beliefs at the door when they enter that jury room.

So the next case was a man who was accused of molesting his 2 children. ( Turned out he was the one who was responsible for having his ex wifes' boyfriend put away for molesting these kids and now he was on trial because the ex wife was accusing him of doing the same).  And all I kept thinking about was these poor kids having to be put through the same type of trial twice. But it was pretty cut and dry--the kids  said he didn't do it--the defense was able to show a revenge type of motive on the exes' side---but when we go to deliberate the case --- THE strangest thing happened----a gal starts breaking down crying saying that she was molested as a child and she can't help but think that the man wouldn't be on trial unless he had actually done something (Yes she had been asked if she knew of any one who had been molested when they were questioning the jurors but said "No"  maybe it was some sort of hidden memory or something ?)  ---Next-- a young hispanic man states his opinion and this older white guy says something and the hispanic man says something like "What??? You tryin' to disrepect me here???"  And then they start arguing with each other about respect and who was supposedly dissing who.. SERIOUSLY totally freakin' weird!!!! ---- but it all gets calmed down and once that got out of the way---we all got along quite well and came to a quick "Not Guilty" decision.

So maybe my 2 experiences serving on a jury are not common ones.  I just feel like they proved to me that predjudism, life experience, and preconceived notions play a humongous role in the Justice System.

But I do believe that the true judgement day comes when we meet our maker.  Yes--- I will always remain very shocked at the outcome of the Casey Anthony trial---but I firmly believe in karma and God.  And those two things will serve up some pretty good justice in the long run.

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