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A Juror Who Did Her Job


A juror in the Trayvon Martin case has spoken out on television, stating that George Zimmerman got away with murder. Maddy—only her first name is known—said that she wanted to convict Zimmerman, but couldn’t find a good legal reason to do so. NYT reports:

“A lot of us wanted to find something bad, something we could connect to the laws,” said Maddy, who had recently moved to Sanford, Fla., from Chicago. “But as the law was read to me, if you have no proof he killed him intentionally, you can’t say he’s guilty,” she added.

For those who firmly believe, as Maddy does, that Zimmerman deserves punishment that the law couldn’t give, we noted in our last post on this case that law and justice don’t always point in the same direction. The prosecution had to meet a tough standard, and in the view of the jury it manifestly failed in the task.

Maddy’s emotional intuition and sense of justice led her to want to punish Zimmerman, but her respect for the law and determination to do her job as a juror led her to vote for an acquittal. This is the way the jury system is supposed to work. Maddy is a powerful reminder that our legal system ultimately relies on the honesty and integrity of ordinary Americans.

[Blind Justice Image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Andrew Allison

    For shame Professor! Feeling that somebody is guilty in the absence of evidence flies in the face of justice. Since you’ve brought the subject up, how do you think she would have felt if she had known that Martin was a violence-prone delinquent? That, like herself, Zimmerman is a Latino who is no more “white” than the President? Might I respectfully suggest that you familiarize yourself with the truth of this charade before opining. You could do worse than starting with

  • Marty Keller

    As someone who’s had the privilege of serving on a jury, I can’t think of a more democratic and brilliant institution. Profound thanks to our British forbears who invented it and to all who have supported it since!

  • Tom Servo

    THIS is why jurors are sequestered – as soon as they start talking to their friends,neighbors, and relatives they get told what they are SUPPOSED to think rather than what they actually think, and a lot of people can never stand up to that pressure. This juror in particular seems to have a “go with the crowd” mentality, explains her voting with the other 5 in the jury room and now feeling bad it about it later.

  • rheddles

    And perhaps it will turn out that ABC manufactured the apparent quote through careful editing, just as NBC did with the “He’s black.” edit that has lead to a law suit. Perhaps ABC will end up joining NBC in a class action defence. NPR next?

  • lukelea

    I respectfully disagree that Zimmerman should be punished. He was in many ways a model citizen and deserves our sympathy. For why I feel this way (and where I learned the true facts of this case) see defense attorney and minority rights advocate Jeralyn E. Merritt’s wonderful blog, TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime:

  • lukelea

    I also learned a lot about this case from a Cornell Law professor’s blog, Legal Insurrection.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    This was a political witch hunt from start to finish. I recommend Bill Whittle’s report for anyone interested in the truth.

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