I marathon watched the Netflix docu-drama, Making a Murderer, last week, in what essentially amounts to The Life and Times of Steven Avery.
In a nutshell: He was wrongly convicted of rape in 1985, served 18 years in prison, before being exonerated by both DNA, and a confession by the guy who actually did it; and because the county ignored the exculpitory evidence of his likely innocence at least twice post-conviction—forcing him to serve at least an additional eight years before finally being exonerated—he sued the county for $36 million in 2005…and at the point where two county employees were added to the civil complaint personally, and were being depossed, Steven ended up with a murder investigation and prosecution on his hands: and importantly, investigated—with evidence gathered—by those same people facing life devastating civil judgments.
Yea, it’s pretty riveting. It’s also, in se, grounds for rationabile dubium. But let me probare causam meam.
I’ve seen a number of pieces since this has exploded internationally. Nothing I’ve seen yet—these two pieces just yesterday, pro and con the murder conviction: Dead Certainty and Making a Murderer, “Biased” Journalism & Necessary Outrage (h/t: Mike Eades’ excellent monthly book and reading reco posts)—are particularly satisfying to me.
It’s like this, for me. Everyone is turning on guilt or innocence, evidence pro and con, and since short of red-hand-in-cookie-jar certainty, the principles that began to be laid down in jurisprudence nearly 1,500 years ago—predating even The Muslim Menace—are intended to put the burden of proof on the accuser. Ideally, a defendant ought be able to just sit there, and it’s decided—whether by judge alone, or jury—whether a stiff burden of proof has been met. And if not: acquittal. That means: no moral or legal judgment on guilt or innocence, and you live with the double-edged sword of Enlightenment and civility. In another nutshell: you just didn’t prove it.
But we hate the word acquittal, don’t we? It’s like a job didn’t get done. Someone’s guilty, and someone must pay! AmIright? And we equally hate the true American judgment of Not Guilty, and especially so; since it conveys a connotation of innocence, even though we may feel a defendant is guiltty in our hearts. I believe Britain uses Not Proved, and that’s way better.
…Families of victims are the worst thing to ever happen to American criminal justice around courthouses. Not once in my life have I seen a single one of them bring a gram of a question to a prosecution’s case. The media fawns over them, as though their emotions are evidence and their feelings, legal doctrine. They do it to sway public opinion to their state whores and bedfellows (so much for freedom of the press)…and the end result is that a defendant’s presumption of innocence (should be a presumption of not proved) is turned into the State’s presumption of virtue: chastity, worth, justice, love of mothers and excessively kissed babies, rainbow farting-unicorns, and anything else the State bestows…like free stuff, without costs. The defendant’s presumption of innocence (or better yet, of not-proved) gets overshadowed by the production value of a “free press.”
O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson are cases like that, for me. Both were tried for State crimes; the former, for double-murder and the latter, for child molestation.
I feel in my heart that OJ Did It. But, I also think the prosecution didn’t prove its case (partly because of gross incompetence). Not Guilty, which is unfortunate, because that’s not what I really mean, morally, but it’s a legal, not moral distinction. I believe he did it, but the State was unable to prove it beyond a minimum of one or more reasonable doubts, so he walks. C’est la vie.
In the Jackson case, I didn’t even think he fondled or otherwise abused boys. I thought he was a consummate weirdo, with enough wealth to protect a level of privacy that ultimately raised lots of speculation and suspicion; but it wasn’t proved, by a long shot. He was just really damn weird, and weird as he may have been—wanting, and being able, with action, to cuddle between silk sheets with a fan-boy is not yet a crime in America.
But basically, the only thing to really understand is that those without $10 million, or thereabouts, to pay the attorneys able enough to educate the jury in exactly what I’m writing about, go away for decades to life.
And families and the public are content about it, because someone has to pay. Or, anyone can pay.
I’m not at all about bleeding heart, but about certainty to a level where I could not possibly use the State as a weapon and means to deprive an innocent man of his one and only life, and I accept the error and fallibility of human existence, as both cost and consequence. I want to ere on the other side.
…The Innocence Project has thus far overturned 337 cases on DNA evidence alone, which means: falsified conviction. It means: 12 people, acting in unison, at the behest of the omnipotent state prosecutor, got it 100% wrong in unison and accord…did not extend any scintilla of a microgram of presumption whatsoever to the defendant, while extending any possible tonnage of presumption they could scratch up to the State prosecution…and 12 jurors sucked State cock unanimously.
By my count, that’s 4,044 American jurors who wrongfully incarcerated men for hundreds of years total, who very rightfully ought to have self inflicted gunshot wounds to the head. They should know who they are. Anyone living a life without moral justification ought know who they are.
In my mind, all of them have forfeited any claim to life and the moral principal to be let to it, unmolested.
Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat.