The case of Caylee Anthony, a Florida child who disappeared in 2008, captured the attention of the nation at the time of her disappearance. The trial, in which her mother, Casey Anthony, was accused of capital murder along with 6 other charges captured the full-time attention of HLN and Nancy Grace. The trial was televised, and toward the beginning, anyone listening heard over and over about 'juror number 4". This was an African American woman who said she would have trouble judging someone, as she believes that is God's work.
The prosecutor in the case, state attorney Jeff Ashton, wanted this woman eliminated from the jury pool. The judge said no. Why? Because Jeff Ashton had already eliminated one person - also African American - for the same reason.
One prosecutor after another who was interviewed on various news programs said they felt that the judge was wrong to deny Jeff Ashton's request to eliminate that juror. Every single prosecutor - none currently on this trial - EVERY ONE of them - said the judge should have eliminated that person from sitting on the jury for this case.
What the hell are these people thinking? Are prosecutors really as ignorant as the general public about the law?
FIRST: That anyone on the jury would have trouble sitting in judgement of someone is fine. In fact, it's PERFECT. Because the responsibility of the jury is NOT to sit in judgement.
The job of the jury is this:
TO APPLY THE EVIDENCE TO THE LAW - that's all.
Judgement is opinion. The work of a jury, as the judge instructed them prior to their deliberation, is not about their opinions of the accused (definitely an unlikable person), not about their feelings regarding the attorneys for the state or the defense, not about their responses to the very tragic event. They were instructed to simply decide how the law applied to the evidence presented during the trial. The judge specifically said that emotion had no place in the juror's decision making; intuition had no place.
Judgement is not part of the work of the jury. No juror should feel they are sitting in judgement of the defendant. They must be objective, looking to the evidence to see if it proves BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT that, in this case, Casey Anthony murdered her child with premeditation.
In my objective opinion, not one juror should feel they are in a position to 'judge' the accused. That is NOT their job!
On top of that, every single person should feel that this is enormously serious work. If the evidence clearly shows beyond any reasonable doubt that Casey Anthony was guilty of the charges, she faced the death penalty. That's a grave sentence, which requires clear and conclusive evidence. Every juror should be taking that as a very significant responsibility as they view the evidence and the law in deliberation.
I am proud of Judge Perry's decision to overrule the prosecutor's objection to juror #4, and especially grateful that this woman spoke about the idea of sitting in judgement of another human being - because that was not the role she was taking as a juror.
I suppose that Jeff Ashton would have preferred a jury of 12 folks who all wanted to have Casey Anthony put to death regardless of the evidence. But that is not how our justice system works, thank God.
Another rant to come soon. Take note, Nancy Grace.