Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What is justice (or, can you just "know" someone is guilty)?

Yeah, I'll admit it. I was distracted by the Casey Anthony trial to some degree. Today the verdict came in, and she was found not guilty on the counts of murder and child abuse. And, of course, there was a huge response from people about how there was no "justice for Caylee".

But, let me ask this: is it "justice" to convict someone when there's no direct evidence linking them to the crime?

Yeah, I know, a lot of people "just know" that Casey did it. And, honestly, I'm not disagreeing that she's the most likely the person to have caused the little girl's death, whether intentionally or not.

But you're not going to get justice by taking such a person and declaring them guilty in the absence of any direct evidence.

I'm not going to go into the details about searches for chloroform or smells in trunks or any of that. It's not relevant to my point about justice. If there is no direct evidence linking the accused to the death then you just can't find them guilty. No matter how much you "just know" they're guilty, that's not enough to convict someone.

So whether she did it or not, she's "not guilty" based on the evidence presented.

And a court that works in such a manner ensures justice for everyone.