PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Jury usually finds justice in court cases

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Indulge me, please, for one last remark here about the Casey Anthony trial and not-guilty verdicts. When prosecutors fail to put forth strong proof to a jury, the defendant should be acquitted. It’s that simple.
TV Talking Heads are not the experts, they are entertainers. They seek ratings and do so loud and long.
When my Facebook contacts “blew up” Tuesday after the Florida decisions, I shook my head in wonder at how savage some nice people could be toward someone they don’t even know.
Decent people are saddened when a child dies. When the cause is suspected to be murder, it’s even more shocking.
Casey Anthony will be a media pariah for decades. Papparazi will trail her and create a hellish life for her, at times, because notoriety sells in our ultra-bored society.
But now, she is an acquitted person. A jury of her peers determined that the state failed to convince them she murdered her child.
There’s no doubt the child died under extremely suspicious circumstances. Casey is hardly innocent of “doing the right thing” when the child “vanished.”
If you’ve never served on a jury, you really have missed a good framework through which to understand how hers could have come to its decisions.
And if you’ve never served on a criminal case jury, your point of reference is even more distant.
My experience in covering courts is that jury members take their responsibilities very seriously. They labor over their verdicts.
When a defendant’s life, freedom or reputation is at stake, I’ve seen jurors go beyond responsibility to deep commitment about seeing that the justice system provides justice.
I’ll never forget the woman juror in a federal criminal trial last fall who cared so deeply for the verdict outcome that she reportedly burst into tears when the judge told her she could be excused to go on a long-planned vacation with her grandchildren.
She knew the defendant’s future was in her and her fellow jurors’ hands, and she held strong convictions about what both sides had shown her at that point. She stayed.
You have to believe that Casey Anthony’s jury felt that way, after weeks of listening and finally being able to speak to each other about it.
They got the case and made a series of complicated decisions in 24 hours. That’s pretty fast.
They were convinced that the state did not prove what it alleged.
In hindsight, perhaps prosecutors over-reached in basing their case on the presumption that Casey Anthony intentionally murdered her child.
Few of us can get our heads around such a claim. Apparently, the jury couldn’t either.
It’s validating to see that justice still can survive the whirlwind.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.