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Comments about ‘Letters: Don't forget what the justice system is all about’

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Published: Friday, July 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Good letter

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

As someone who disagrees with the verdict, I can still say that I will respect the final result. I even accepted the result of Bush v Gore, even though the ruling proved to be a disaster.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

I agree. . . up to a point. The difficulty is that some people conflate 'not guilty' with 'innocent,' and then go from 'innocent' to 'heroic.' Zimmerman's actions must not lead other neighborhood watch captains to abuse their responsibilities so egregiously.

wrz
Pheonix, AZ

@Eric Samuelsen:
"The difficulty is that some people conflate 'not guilty' with 'innocent...'"

The defendant was 'innocent until proven guilty' in a court of law. And since he was not proven guilty, he remains innocent. It's not a difficult concept to grasp.

"Zimmerman's actions must not lead other neighborhood watch captains to abuse their responsibilities so egregiously."

Zim's actions should be a lesson to other 'punks' invading neighborhoods intent on robbing houses and smashing the faces of neighborhood watchmen who would confront them.

SoCalChris
Riverside, CA

Good letter, but the Zimmerman case is not a case where the jury erred on the side of innocence. They didn't err at all. There was simply no evidence to controvert the self-defense claim.

Some high profile case juries have just plain erred in my opinion. They have understood reasonable doubt to mean beyond any possible doubt whatsoever. Casey Anthony jury comes to mind.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

Wow WRZ, You sure have convicted the kid and sentenced him to a posthumous death haven't you?

I'm sure you're one that says "he was on drugs" rather than he had marijuana in his system right? Because we all know pot heads have a reputation for extreme violence - not.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Sam,
"not guilty" is a legal term. "Innocent" is a moral term. When you are found "not guilty" by a jury... your remain "innocent" of the charge (which was Murder). It's the whole "Innocent" until proven guilty thingy in the Constitution.

That means Zimmerman is "innocent" of Murder (as far as the law is concerned).

It doesn't mean he is innocent of everything. Just murder. Yes, we can continue to heap moral judgement upon him for the rest of his mistakes and character flaws... but Murder is no longer one of them.

"not guilty" doesn't mean individuals can't continue the moral judgement that he's still not "innocent" (basically the position Al Sharpton took on the Sunday news shows). You have that right to make that moral judgement, but it doesn't have any legal weight.

He may be guilty of many other things... poor judgement, being a jerk, being a racist, being a gun loven redneck, or many other things... but he's not guilty of Murder

So we can judge him on the whole list of other things he may be guilty of... but not Murder.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I mis-spoke... "Innocent until proven guilty" is not in the Constitution. It's a common phrase and part of our legal code but not in the Constitution.

The right to a speedy trial by a jury of your peers (instead of a trial by a bunch of partisan posters) is in the Constitution. Zimmerman was found "not guilty" of murder.

It's lucky we don't judge people by the comment pages. You would never get a unanimous verdict or a conviction.

I accept this verdict, as I accepted the OJ Simpson verdict. I don't totally believe he was "innocent"... but what I believe doesn't really doesn't matter (from a legal perspective).

SCfan
clearfield, UT

It's been suggested that there should be 3 things a jury can decide. Innocent, guilty, or charges not proven beyong a reasonable doubt. That third one would leave a person in the probable position that many are trying to put Zimmerman in now because they are frustrated that he had a not guilty verdict that some equate with innocence. And the jury had no other choice because it was obvious there was a lot of reasonable doubt. I suspect that the origional authors of law intended for a not guilty to be equated with innocence, but don't know for sure. In any case, maybe more than two outcomes would help clarify the verdicts intent by a jury.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

SCfan,
I disagree with your premise. Every defendant should come out of court with a binary decision. You're either "Guilty" or "Not Guilty". There should be no "Kinda Guilty".

I don't think your proposal would help clarify verdicts or help clarify anything. It would just make the verdict more blurry.

What do you to if he's "Kinda Guilty"? Kinda hang him? Give him a Kinda long time in jail? Kinda let him go? Kinda punish him? How does it make anything clearer?

Should we have 2/3rds guilty? or 7/8ths guilty? What does that mean? There needs to be a final verdict for justice to be done.

This isn't a question of a call on the football field. This is somebody's life.

Would you like to be sent to prison for life because you were found "Not Guilty" but "kinda guilty"?

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Jack, did you feel the system worked when OJ was not convicted?

SCfan
clearfield, UT

2 bits

However coming out of court kinda guilty is exactly what is happening to Zimmerman. So many people who don't like the verdict are hanging their hat on the idea that the jury did not say he was innocent, but not guilty, and therefore defacto have created that third possibility. And, the verdict of beyond reasonable doubt leaves the door open for this kind of thing. In answer to your last question, I'd like to come out of court as innocent of all charges. Wouldn't you like to have a jury say that about you if you were innocent?

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