2 bitsHowever 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
Jack, did you feel the system worked when OJ was not convicted?
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"?
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.
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).
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 MurderSo we can judge him on the whole list of other
things he may be guilty of... but not Murder.
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.
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.
@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.
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
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.