Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Is The End

I had a feeling it would come to this. Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to announce the end of The Room of Shattered Glass. I have a full-time job and a novel to edit. Plus my family. Something had to give. If you want to see some more foolish writing, see the official site for The Kingdom Trilogy.

I may begin to write this again in the future. That part I leave to God. For now, here’s one final guest post from Colin Kelly, offering some thoughts on the recent Casey Anthony madness. He’s a real breath of fresh air after all the hype.

“Hi, my name is Colin J. Kelly, and I’m obviously guest-posting here.  I cannot promise to be as humorous as the previous guest-poster, so I’ll attempt not to be.

I’d like to talk about Justice.  I’m not a law student; I’m an ordinary Joe who knows little, and just has some thoughts. See, there’s something that happened recently that I’ve discussed with numerous people, read articles on, seen news reports and talk shows comment on. It keeps bringing me back to Justice.

That thing was the trial of Casey Anthony.

You see, I grew up the son of a criminal defense attorney, and I’d hear people ask him how he could defend those criminals. My father would answer calmly that the people he defended weren’t criminals. They were accused of criminal actions and according to the law, they had to be proven guilty. My father’s job wasn’t to get criminals off, but rather to see that justice has been served.

The Bill of Rights starts the basis for how our justice system operates. Most importantly, a person accused of Capital crimes needs to be tried before a grand jury, and only once can they be tried for the death penalty for that crime, (Article 5) the accused shall be tried by an impartial jury, and shall be informed of the nature and causes of the accusation, be confronted with the witnesses against him, and shall have the assistance of counsel for his defense.  (Article 6) The Supreme Court has had several decisions on how to interpret that bill, and the constitution to further our system.

So, when you’re charged with a crime, you have someone to help defend yourself (usually a public defender if you can’t afford one) because the prosecution has to prove to a group of random people that you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt. That makes the Prosecution’s job harder than the Defense, as if there’s a speck of doubt, you should be found, not guilty.

That’s how our justice system works. Sure, maybe there are loopholes; sure, maybe guilty people get off. But the point of the justice system is to make sure that the people behind the bars of our prisons are guilty, and not innocent. Blackstone’s formulation: “it is better ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”  Even worse than letting a criminal go, is incarcerating an innocent person.

I’m not going to talk about whether or not Casey Anthony is guilty. That’s not my purpose here; you believe what you believe, and I’m not going to tell you otherwise. The Question is whether or not Justice was served.

I didn’t know much about the case. I never paid attention to it. Then I checked my Twitter feed, and read all the venom violently spewed at her, and the death threats, and the cries that justice had not been done, and that Casey will get her own when she meets God. I’ve seen some common threads on my feed before, but I’ve never seen my entire feed discussing one thing at the same time.

And you know what my first thought was? Sympathy. I felt sorry for Anthony, and I’m not going to say she’s guilty or not, because that isn’t my place. The people whose place it was to decide that, took a look at the evidence that was presented, and said there’s something here, but we are still in doubt about whether or not she’s guilty. And so we can’t do anything, but find her not.

Beyond reasonable doubt made the jurors spare Anthony from the death penalty, and I’ve got people I follow crying for her blood.

If Anthony was guilty, then maybe the system didn’t work this time, and a criminal escaped punishment. If she had been found guilty, and been given the death penalty, then justice may have been served. I say “may” only because I feel that justice includes redemption. There is no redemption after death.

But (and I hear my father saying this) what if she is innocent?

If Anthony is innocent, and the jury had given her the death penalty, all twelve members of that jury would have just committed legal homicide. They would have gone, yes there’s some doubt here, but we’re still pretty sure she’s guilty. That’s injustice.

If Anthony is innocent, then all the people I saw crying for her blood, and talked about assassinating her have threatened a human being. She has got to hear that, and it hurts.

The worst experience that I ever happened to me was that I was accused of something I had not done, and the jury of my peers sentenced and executed me in their minds, without allowing a chance for me to defend myself. By calling for Anthony’s blood, we partial, biased people have sentenced her without allowing her to defend herself and to face her accusers. That is injustice, and I feel sorry for Anthony.

There is enough reasonable doubt for twelve people who saw the evidence, heard the arguments, watched the reactions of the accused, and didn’t see the media saying she’s guilty (unbiased, impartial jury, remember?) for them to say, “We don’t know, and we’re not going to commit injustice.”

I don’t care whether or not she’s guilty. Those twelve people had reasonable doubt; it would have been unjust to sentence her. Justice was served.

If I’m ever accused of a capital crime, I hope I can have jurors as committed to doing justice."

Colin J. Kelly is just an ordinary guy, with little common sense, random knowledge, a lot of empathy, insecurity, and naïve ideals. You can find him on Facebook. Or on Twitter as CrazyColinKelly. He knows Sean from sitting next to him in British Literature class, and moving away when Sean verbally dug himself into holes.