Monday, March 07, 2005


I've often had conversations with co-workers about the failings of the jury system. Yesterday, it was me saying there was a very reasonable doubt in the Scott Peterson case, where flimsy evidence and shoddy investigative work should've caused a not guilty verdict. And, as happens so often, the reply was something along the lines of "well, I just know he's guilty."

That's not how its supposed to work. In fact, the system fails if jurors make decisions based on feelings, emotions, prejudices, omens, etc. You have to look at the evidence, the facts of the case, and make a logical, impartial judgement. That's what being a juror is about.

In this particular case, I've also heard (numerous times) "well the fact that he dyed his hair and was getting ready to run says to me that he's guilty." Really? Given that Scott had pretty much already been convicted in the media and given the crappy decisions made by juries in this country you're gonna trust your life to one? Not me. I'd definitely think about running if I were ever charged with a heinous crime. So that in itself is not any evidence that he committed any crime.

I know I'm a bit of a Vulcan about this and I do sometimes rely on my gut instinct, but in a situation as serious as a murder trial, I sure wish people could act in an unemotional, analytical manner.


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