Do 'guilty' people desrve trials?

Katherine - posted on 05/25/2011 ( 44 moms have responded )

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Inspired by cafemom.

Ok so we have all heard of Casey Anthony the murderer of her own daughter. She is guilty based on some "facts" and circumstantial evidence. Do you think she deserves a trial?

Here is the article by the blogger:

This isn't really about whether Casey Anthony is guilty or not guilty. (There is a difference between being not guilty and being innocent, but we'll get to that later.) This is about America. This is about the Constitution. This is about our legal system.

The trial just started. None of us is in the courtroom. We haven't seen the evidence. The evidence is presented in the courtroom by lawyers, not in the papers by journalists (or hacks or annoying TV personalities trying to get ratings). Every day the jurors will see evidence that even the most avid case followers didn't know existed, and they'll hear facts that were never made public before. And in a high-profile trial like this, we, on the outside, will be reading about new bombshells every day -- from both the defense and the prosecution.

In addition to the facts of the case and the evidence presented, there's another little ol' thing that comes into play in the courtroom. It's called the Constitution. That crusty, old, yellowing piece of paper affords each and every one of us a bunch of rights. Even when we get accused of committing a crime. Even when we get accused of committing the most horrific crime imaginable and the whole world knows for sure we're guilty because Bill O'Reilly and Mary Hart said so. (Of course that's when you need those rights the most because that's exactly when that smart, newspaper-reading crowd, so very sure of itself, will hang an innocent you from the closest tree it can find. Oops!)

So about those rights: We have the right to a fair trial -- not a "we know you're totally guilty, but *sigh* we have to go through this silly little charade so we can pretend like constitutional rights mean something because we're so open-minded like that" trial. And we have the right not to be beaten by the police until we confess to a crime (cry uncle!). We also have the right not to have our houses searched without a warrant. Frivolous stuff like that, plus a whole lot more. (What were those Founding Fathers thinking? I mean, we can all tell when someone is guilty just by looking at them.)

The way our legal system works, if those rights get violated, sometimes tainted or illegally obtained evidence doesn't get in. And during the course of the trial, the judge makes sure everyone abides by the Constitution (because for some reason she thinks it's important and because, well, someone has to). So on occasion, someone who actually committed a crime gets off. That person is found "not guilty" but not "innocent." That's how big a deal the Constitution is. (Maybe we should just toss that onto the burning stake too?)

People accused of crimes, like murder, also get to defend themselves and present evidence that they didn't do it. They are permitted to show that they are really not guilty, as in innocent. Or sometimes they say, "Yes, I did it, but here's why." And sometimes that "here's why" part, that's a BIG deal. Like they might be crazy. Cuckoo. Certifiable. Or they might be acting in self-defense. They had to kill someone so that they could keep living. Or maybe they were abused or raped every day of their entire life and they finally stood up for themselves. Sometimes we give people a break because if we were in their shoes, we might have done the exact same thing. Because we are human. Anyway, it's not really for the accused to prove she didn't do it. It's for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt* that she did (*sometimes other standards are used depending on the crime and the jurisdiction).

So unless you're Casey Anthony or Caylee Anthony -- or maybe a few other people -- you have no idea what actually happened. Unless you're one of the lawyers or cops, you have no idea what all the evidence is. And unless you're psychic, you have no idea how this case is going to turn out. Hell, we all thought OJ Simpson was going straight to jail. That sucka was guilty -- we know it! -- and look what happened there.

I certainly don't know the outcome of Casey Anthony's trial (but I do know she deserves one) and I have no idea if she is guilty or not. But here's what I hope.

I hope the jurors are good Americans who don't have their minds already made up, and who will listen to the facts and look at the evidence that is presented to them every day. I hope they know that the newspaper articles they may have already read don't tell the whole story. I hope they respect the law and that little "formality" known as the Constitution. I hope they consider the evidence in the case as they would if any one of us was on trial for something we did -- or didn't do.

Those ladies and gentlemen of the jury have a daunting task, but I trust that they'll do a good job. After all, they actually showed up for jury duty. That's probably the first sign that these aren't people who mock our Constitution, bow down before boob tube blowhards, and get swept up in a dangerous crowd mentality. They take being American citizens seriously.

The case is in their hands. Let's wait and see what they, our fellow citizens, do. And let's stop listening to the noise outside the courtroom.

http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/1...

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Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011

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Read the book "The Innocent Man". It happens every day that "guilty" people are actually innocent. Everyone deserves a trial. And even the jury is sometimes wrong. So everyone ALSO deserves the opportunity for appeal.

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2011

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Actually Suzie, I think that any US citizen should have respect for a fair trial for all even outside your boundaries. Failure to respect that is a violation of basic international human rights IMO. You can't just throw your constitution out the window, which recognises human rights, simply because you are in another country and can therefore "get away with it".



As a citizen of the US, do you not feel a moral obligation to believe that all people, regardless of nationality and location, are entitled to a fair trial, whether in fact they are or are not currently getting that right, shouldn't they HAVE that right? Isn't that what the fight of international human rights organisation is trying to achieve?

Sherri - posted on 07/10/2011

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Bin Laden is a total different cup of tea. He was considered a world terrorist. They would have certainly given him a trial had he surrendered peacefully. He had no intentions of doing so. They did just that to Sadam Husan, he was captured and given a fair trial.

Suzie - posted on 07/10/2011

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laura
mister bin ladin was guilty and would not have gone to trial because he was proud of what he did he would have pleaded guilty second the US constitusion dose not applie to people outside the US. and even if it did there was mutual fire you could say that the solders that killed him fired in self defense. Sadam Husan had a far trial and was exicuted for his crimes I think if he would have surender and through his hands in the Air he would have gotten his day in court but he did not he was in a fire fight with the US solders that killed him. Othere suspectes are killed even in the US when police have to use force to save there lives and to protect peopl like you and ME

Katherine - posted on 05/26/2011

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Right, and the whole point of the article, actually the headline was "do Guilty People Deserve Trials?"

I have been on a jury before and it's SOOOOOOOOOOO hard not to assume the person is guilty right off the bat. Mine was an officer who off duty pointed and racketed his gun at his wife's lover. Now obviously he did it right? Well actually in Detroit you are required to have a bullet in the chamber at all times, on duty or off. So there was no proof as to WHEN that bullet went in. I had to argue with a lot of jurors on that one.
But most of the time whether a potential juror says they can be impartial they are LYING IMO.

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[deleted account]

there are alot of reasons why everyone who is accused deserves a trial, but it basically boils down to wrongful conviction rates being quite significant, lots of crooked cops fabricating or altering evidence (not all cops, but some), and that if it was your kid who had been accused of committing a crime you would want their rights respected. a person isn't guilty until they are proven guilty and they deserve to be treated like a human being

Jenny - posted on 04/25/2012

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So is it over now? They caught him. So we can end the warrant-less surveillance, indefinite detentions and Patriot Act any day now. Woo hoo! We won the war!

Stifler's - posted on 04/25/2012

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I thought America DID declare war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction adn all that. they are hardly innocent.

Carrie - posted on 04/25/2012

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Bin Laden was a military operation. He was part of a military that we in America have labeled "terrorist". People in the military do not have constitutional rights whether they are US citizens or not. In America, someone in the military who has committed a crime is given a military trial. He is not assumed innocent until proven guilty, he does not get a trial of his peers, he does not get to choose his attorney, and his sentence is not prescribed by legislation.



Bin Laden declared war on America, and while America did not declare war back, American military responded to Bin Laden's declaration. War is not fair, just or legal nor does it have anything to do with whether or not civilians deserve trials no matter how guilty the media paints them. There is a world government that responds to war crimes, governed by the Geneva Convention. Whether or not the Bin Laden operation adhered to the rules of that convention is another argument and could very likely be a moot point.

Carrie - posted on 07/12/2011

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There is NO LAW that says a person sitting on a jury cannot read up on the case, read the paper, talk to people about it, and yet the legal community has determined that this is "prejudicial" and, therefore, not allowed (thank-you, Jim Crow -sarcasm). Until the jury's power is upheld, and members of the jury are really instructed on their duty and place in the courtroom (actually, the jury is the most powerful force in the courtroom, with a judge merely giving an opinion on their point of view) the reality is that there is no such thing as a "fair" trial.

As someone already pointed out, most people on a jury assume that if someone has gotten this far in the process then the cops got the right guy and he is guilty. Jury members do not realize they are the FINAL line of defense, they are the BALANCE, ensuring that the state followed ALL of the laws pertaining to the rights of the defendant. If the STATE has screwed up, the defendant goes free. That is OUR freedom that is being messed with when a member of the legal/law enforcement community screws with our rights, plants evidence or withholds it.

What about the victim? The STATE should be punished for messing up a case so badly that no one was punished for the crime. Don't people realize that is a crime in and of itself? The STATE allowed the guilty party to go free. Someone should be punished for that. But, they won't be, because lawyers make the laws. What prosecuting lawyer (or one needing the money from backers to get re-elected) is going to pass a law where they will be held liable for screwing up a case?

Jodi - posted on 07/11/2011

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But he would have had a hearing for sentencing, right?

And Suzie, I am not attacking you at all, I was simply debating something you posted.

Suzie - posted on 07/11/2011

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jodi as i said in my first post in a perfect world yes he would have been tired however it is not a perfect world. Second he admided to the crimes openly there for he would have been judged with out a trial in the US in the case this debate started with she plead not guilty these are two diffrent items and i am sorry. Please do not attack me as i said he diserved a fair trial in the first post and i feel that all should recive one however the soverncey of a nation is detrimed by the laws of each indidual country.

Suzie - posted on 07/10/2011

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Jodi
He was an international terist and yes he should have had a fair trial in a far world however it did not happen for what ever reason. secondley you are looking at the US legal system in the united states as it purtains to the people with in our boundries. In the US and its teritories we the people of this great nation are purtected with the right of a far trial. there are no world Government that makes things correct and equal in all countries in parts of the world weman can be Killed for wanting to leave there husband. i belive that all are in titled to a far trial with in the US and if you are on are soil there are laws that pertect you as well such as getting aide from your country of origin if they chose to help you. there is also no exact proff that those within the Binladden compound were disarmed and that he was himself.

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2011

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Sherri, I think you will find that Samantha did in fact indicate that " he had no weapons and was posing no immediate threat" and yet STILL made the comment that "the US constitution does not apply to non US citizens."

That is what I am trying to make sense of. WHY should there not be entitlement to a fair trial just purely because he was not a US citizen?

Because from what I gather, whether he was armed or unarmed has been up for debate.

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2011

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Ok, interesting.....so a US citizen can "hunt down" a non US citizen and just shoot them without a trial. Gotcha.

Suzie - posted on 07/10/2011

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jodi in the us if you were to comite a crime you would be given a far trial how ever the binladen was not here when he was hunted down

Jodi - posted on 07/10/2011

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So does that mean that if I visit your country and do something illegal, no matter how minor, I don't deserve a fair trial?

[deleted account]

Laura, I certainly wasn't getting trashed in the streets like many other Americans. Celebrating any death is a terrible thing to do,no matter how evil the person. Those Americans that day were just as pitiful as Al Queda when they openly celebrated 9/11. Since when did we become the enemies we fight against?
I do not agree at all with how Osama was taken down. Some could call it murder, because he had no weapons and was posing no immediate threat.
But Suzie is right, the US constitution does not apply to non US citizens.

Isobel - posted on 07/10/2011

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For all of you saying "of course...everyone deserves a fair trial, guilty or not" I'm curious what you thought of Osama Bin Laden's shooting

Suzie - posted on 07/09/2011

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yes all should have trials as in our country we have a dark past were Slaves were not considered people but animals and if they were acused they were killed no questions asked many were not guilty but unfortanitley the same system can work both ways as guilty people get off and inocent people Go to prison or get exicuted to only be cleard latter this system is put in place to try and protect all. I sadly have to admit when seeing the evedince about Cassy knew she would be set free as there are to this day to many Questions on what happend to Cayle do i think she diserved to go free no but the Jury made the right call. the evedance was not there i wish whole hartedly that it was there. but the truth is you can not prove it with out a question in the back of your mind as to what really happend. sadley we will never know the truth and the child is with God and the person responsible will be Judged by the truth.

Katherine - posted on 07/08/2011

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And she got her fair trail along with rights to I think interviews and other things, She could become a millionaire.

Amber - posted on 07/08/2011

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Everybody deserves a fair trial. The whole idea behind it is that both sides get to be told and uninvolved parties get to try and decide which is fact and which is fiction. Who would decide guilt if there were no trials?

The difference between Patsy Ramsey and Casey Anthony is that Casey claims to have known her daughter died and covered up her death by disposing of her body...then didn't notify the police for 31 days. JonBenet's case hasn't been solved though, they still don't know who killed her. They just cleared the parents and said they didn't do it.

Amber - posted on 07/08/2011

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Everybody deserves a fair trial. The whole idea behind it is that both sides get to be told and uninvolved parties get to try and decide which is fact and which is fiction. Who would decide guilt if there were no trials?

The difference between Patsy Ramsey and Casey Anthony is that Casey claims to have known her daughter died and covered up her death by disposing of her body...then didn't notify the police for 31 days. JonBenet's case hasn't been solved though, they still don't know who killed her. They just cleared the parents and said they didn't do it.

Amber - posted on 07/08/2011

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Everybody deserves a fair trial. The whole idea behind it is that both sides get to be told and uninvolved parties get to try and decide which is fact and which is fiction. Who would decide guilt if there were no trials?

The difference between Patsy Ramsey and Casey Anthony is that Casey claims to have known her daughter died and covered up her death by disposing of her body...then didn't notify the police for 31 days. JonBenet's case hasn't been solved though, they still don't know who killed her. They just cleared the parents and said they didn't do it.

[deleted account]

We've done away with enough of our constitution as it is. We are all now subjected to unwarranted searches and seizures, with aboslutely no proof or even reason. Our free speech is hindered, rather than saying what you want where you want they now have "free speech zones" you are not allowed to protest in certain areas, etc. One of the beautiful things about America is (supposed) to be that we have rights,rights a lot of countries don't have. But as time goes by those rights are being taken away again and again. Dothe guilty deserve a fair trial? Absolutely. That is the law of the land. And if we automatically took that right away, then the innocent will be stripped of their trials as well.

Sherri - posted on 07/08/2011

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You know what everyone deserves a fair trial.

Also everyone can ASSUME Casey Anthony is guilty the same they did to Jon Benet Ramseys mom but in the end you know what they found the actual killer of Jon Benet and it WAS NOT her mother. Poor Patsy Ramsey went to her grave with the world still thinking she was guilty even though she was found innocent in a court of law. Just as everyone here will do to Casey Anthony, in opinion sad.

Teresa - posted on 07/08/2011

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Any person charged with a crime deserves a fair trial. Period. We cannot convict people in the court of public opinion because who creates public opinion ? The media. Not to be trusted for the facts. No way.

[deleted account]

Exactly Sharon- what is morally a fair trial and what is legally a fair trial are often 2 different things. I'm all for the 'not guily by reason of mental defect' defense WHERE IT ACTUALLY applies- but- as I said before due to legal precdent being set at some point for (probably, hopefully??) some poor soul who was mentally deficient, now every Tom, Dick and Harry jumps on it as a 'get out of jail free' card. Literally. In our case people were saying 'well obviously she's got mental issues if she tried to kill her own kids (plus 2 others of us who were adults)' Clearly she did- BUT whether or not she KNEW it was WRONG to do what she did has never been in question- she DID. So is it 'fair' for her defense to try to use this defense?? No it is not. So on that basis- no she didnt deserve THAT trial, she deserved a FAIR trial where the only facts in evidence are DID she attempt murder?

[deleted account]

Yes. EVERYONE deserves a trial. Everyone deserves the right to defend themselves against accusations even if they are blatantly guilty they still deserve a fair trial. THAT is a basic American right.

Sharon - posted on 05/31/2011

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Casey Anthony IS guilty. Of what remains to be determined. She didn't tell anyone her child was missing. I don't care why or what abuses she suffered when she was younger.

She tried to blame an innocent woman.

Those are two incontrovertible facts. There are additional facts that show she ZERO remorse or conscience.

Personally, from what I've read in the news (admittedly sensationalist) there isn't enough to prove she actually murdered her daughter. There is enough to prove she knew her daughter was dead and was glad of it.

That is going to be a tough case to make a decision in and I don't think I could be impartial for Casey Anthony.

Then there is the case of Jared Loughner. In broad daylight in front tons of people, on camera and caught in the act of murdering SIX people. Nope, no trial. Straight to the penalty phase. But they're having a trial anyway. They are trying to claim he's not guilty by reason of mental defect. Eh. Maybe or maybe not, but screwed thinking or not, he KNEW what he did was wrong and condemened in the eyes of society and legal holdings. Its inferred though, in his demeanor and secretive behaviour. He hid the purchase of the guns from family, hid his plans, (if it was legal and ok, he would have been up front about it). Anyway - there are a lot of details. But thats my take on this.

[deleted account]

I can see your point Jenny and Katherine, clearly it's not right for public opinion to be the manner on which guilt is decided- especially as is almost always the case, what we hear in the media is mostly not the whole story and there is ALWAYS innaccurate reportage. However, again, as an ex-cop then thing that gets me is how legal precedent can be used- often in ways it was never intended to be- in Court for the purposes of getting an offender out of the consequences of their actions. Look, arguably, any parent who is so mentally distressed as to take or attempt to take the life of their own child(ren) is a person who needs alot of help- will they get that help in prison? Most likely not (certainly not for the offender in my case) so yes the vital part of it is that person gets help- BUT they must also, at the point where they are well enough to deal with it; face the consequences of their actions, in whatever way is appropriate. Otherwise what happens is what is happening where I live- 1. More and more parents in contested custody cases are taking this kind of action- in the 8 years since my case there have been 10 cases that I know of) and 2. very minimal sentences for offenders found guilty (19 months in my case- for 3 minor victims and 2 adult victims); recommendations of Anger-management Courses that the facility they are incarcerated in DOES NOT offer so- 'oh well nevermind you dont have to do it', voluntary (NOT mandatory) mental health care which results in the offender chnaging Dr's every time they are told something they dont like or treatment they dont want is recommended; and the ability to have extended, long-term UNSUPERVISED care of the victims/ children who survive and the ability to continue to harrass the adult victims pretty much ad hoc. And YES this is EXACTLY what happened in my case. The end result? The only ones getting proper mental health care are we, the victims.

Jenny - posted on 05/26/2011

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Trials are a must. The court of public and the media are not enough to ensure justice.

Or we could just send Seal Team 6 and shoot her in the face.

Tracey - posted on 05/26/2011

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If you don't have a trial who will decide guilt / innocence? Judges, the police, the media?

[deleted account]

Ok so I am not from the US but I think I have a unique perspective on the question- as the meaning of 'Constituation' is the same in most 1st World countries. I am an ex-cop so I 'get' how our justice sytem works (both how it's 'supposed to' and how it ACTUALLY works) AND I have also been one of the victims, as well as one of the witnesses in a violent crime like the one we are discussing. Not trying to be obtuse but I cant legally talk about the details as some of the other victims were minors. But my answer to the OP is this: intellectually I believe that everyone has the right to a FAIR trial but I think it's important for people to realise a fair trial means fair to the VICTIMS as well. In my case, the outcome was in NO WAY fair to the victims and the offender (who admitted her guilt) was the one who was 'looked after'. This person continues to be a danger to most of us who were the victims of her crime but b/c she is mentally ill, it is she who is protected. This makes me angry b/c although she is mentally ill (and obviously entitled to the care she requires); it has been proven time and again that her illness DOES NOT prevent her from understanding the difference between right and wrong and she has continually been assessed as 'being unable to put the needs of (the victims) before the needs of herself' and her main need is revenge. So sometimes- I admit from an emotional perspective- I dont feel that she deserved a trial, as she is the only one to have had a good outcome from her trial.

Johnny - posted on 05/25/2011

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Absolutely they deserve trials. And so do the victims. If I or my loved ones are ever victims of a serious crime, I want to be know that every effort was made to ensure that the person who committed the crime receives justice. I don't want the wrong person sitting in jail and the criminal running around scott-free.

Michele - posted on 05/25/2011

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yes, they do, but there are some people that i would have a hard time defending adequately.

Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011

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Joy, the book I mentioned was a man on death row and the ONLY reason he wasn't executed was because that particular state legislated against the death penalty only days before his scheduled execution. He was already judged guilty by the police, the prosecution and the public before his trial, so I don't believe he received a fair investigation or a fair trial. It really opened my eyes to the biases in a system that purports to be "innocent" until proven guilty in a court of law. Bullshit, that's not what happens.

[deleted account]

I was living in the Orlando area when Caylee Anthony (the little girl) went missing. Just like most people who lived in Florida, I watched the search, hours of news, the media frenzy, all of it. And I cried like a baby twice. Once, when they found a body of a child they thought was her, but wasn't (and was never, to my knowledge identified). And then the day they found her for real (so close to home) I broke down and sobbed. The hype of it all, the sadness of it all, just that poor little girl. As a local, you couldn't get away from it. And of course, from day one, Nancy Grace was judge, jury and would-be exocutioner of Casey Anthony. She alone, swayed public opinion so far towards guilty that I honestly don't believe there is anywhere in this country that Casey could get a fair trial. Now, don't get me wrong, I think she's guilty. Too many inconsistencies in her story. Something in her eyes. But I believe that everyone is entitled to a fair trial in this country. And I have no doubt that she will most certainly NOT be given one. But to answer the OP, yes, I believe everyone, guilty or not, deserves a fair trial. Like Jodi said, without everyone being given a fair trial, lots of innocent people would be convicted based on "evidence". It's happening a lot now, people getting released from prison after serving ghastly amounts of time for crimes they didn't commit. DNA is slow to catch up with the thousands of wrongful incarceration cases.

Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011

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I agree, I think a lot of people will judge based on what they read. Take what is said in the media, halve it, and halve it again, and you may be getting closer to the truth.

Rosie - posted on 05/25/2011

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of course everyone deserves a trial. however in the court of public opinion, which doesn't matter one ioda obviously, she's guilty as sin. oj is too!!
i think it could happen that jurys get tainted and use the media and it's crap to make their own decision. but serving on a jury myself once, i completely took the whole thing seriously and went over each piece of evidence very carefully before making any decision of his innocence or guilt. i would hope others would do the same, but seeing how some people are in this world i'm not sure that would happen all of the time.

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