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How we resolve our disputes

Entries in predictability (1)


Jury on Trial

In the aftermath of Casey Anthony’s acquittal of murder charges, cyberspace and the public airwaves seem to be full of people complaining about the stupid jurors and our jury system in general. Some have even called it a waste of taxpayer money. I disagree. I think the jurors in Orlando provided an enormously valuable service. With no prior criminal record, Casey Anthony is hardly a danger to the community, like a serial murderer or terrorist. She might be a lying slut, and even a danger to her own (dysfunctional) family, but does that warrant locking her up for life or until the conclusion of the appeals necessary to impose the death penalty? Talk about a waste of taxpayer money.

I don’t know if the jurors made the right decision in this case, but they certainly had a better view of the evidence and witnesses than I did. They were clearly a jury of Casey’s peers. They were also peers of the police and prosecutors. Some of them were parents of children like Caylee. They represented their community and performed their duty well. So I am not going to second-guess their decision.

The Sixth and Seventh Amendments to the U.S. Constitution preserve our right to trial by jury. While jurors’ decisions may be unpredictable, that is precisely what gives us good reason to search for our own collaborative and consensual solutions to disputes. Our founding fathers sought independence, not predictability. I hope that is what everyone was celebrating this past 4th of July weekend. I know I was.