Jay Leno and Other Ignorant Jury Bashers

One of the my favorite things on Jay Leno’s Tonight show is the Jaywalking segment when he has people on the street demonstrate what they don’t know. Those with the worst answers can win an opportunity to compete as a Jaywalk All Stars.

When it comes to understanding America’s legal system, Jay would easily make it as a Jaywalk All Star.

What Jay and other jury bashers don’t understand is that American law prohibits a jury from finding a defendant guilty unless the prosecution proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Jurors are required to base their decisions on the evidence presented in court and prohibited from seeking the opinion of talk show nitwits about how they should vote. Those who know too much about the case before the trial or have formed opinions about the case are not supposed to serve on the jury.

The jurors who voted “not guilty” in the Casey Anthony trial were doing what the law required them to do as were the jurors in the O.J. Simpson trial.

The prosecution claimed that Casey Anthony deliberately used duct tape to smother her daughter Caylee, yet failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Caylee died from being smothered by duct tape. That failure to prove how Caylee died meant there was reasonable doubt about Casey deliberately killing her daughter and the law required the jury to vote “not guilty” regardless of what jurors might have wanted to do.

In the O.J. Simpson trial the prosecution claimed that the killer wore a certain pair of gloves. When those gloves were shown to be too small for O.J., that meant there was reasonable doubt that O.J. was the killer. As Johnnie Cochran pointed out in rhyme “if it doesn’t fit, you must [by law] acquit.”

Jay sometimes refers to the Robert Blake case while ignoring the fact that the prosecution failed to connect Blake to the murder weapon. That failure meant that someone else could have pulled the trigger and thus there was reasonable doubt that Blake committed the crime. The prosecution should have waited to charge Blake until it could prove he did it.

Those who rely on the media for information about criminal cases fail to understand that in the early stages of an investigation the government has a monopoly on releasing information and can make all sorts of claims that cannot be substantiated. Some information may be provided by government officials who don’t really know anything and are passing along what is essentially office gossip. That is why people should be skeptical of any crime related information from unnamed sources. An unnamed source may want to remain anonymous because he or she is lying.

Members of media lynch mobs continue to operate on the assumption that the original information was true regardless of what may be admitted in the trial. They have already decided that the accused is “guilty, guilty, guilty” and they won’t let new facts changes their minds.

I don’t recall most of the false information about the Simpson murder case but I do recall one of the most glaring overstatements. LAPD had claimed that “there was blood all over the place” in O.J.’s residence. However, in court they were forced to admit that “blood all over the place” meant one blood drop here, another over there and still another way over there.
Incidentally, Casey’s behavior after Caylee’s death could indicate a psychological problem rather than guilt. The death of a child can have a severe psychological impact on parents. Many historians blame First Lady Lincoln’s “madness” on the death of her son Willie.


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