Biden Prays For Guilty Verdict – Trial Is Fair?

By | April 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

The judge in the Chauvin case calls Rep. Maxine Waters’ comments “abhorrent.” Waters called for a verdict of nothing less than murder, and threatened street violence if it was not forthcoming. Meanwhile, President Biden says he is “praying” for a guilty verdict. How can a jury remain impartial under threat of violence, and with the President himself pushing for a guilty verdict? And we recall the Rodney King verdict in California, where jurors and their families had to flee for their lives after their home and work addresses were publicized.

Yes, juror intimidation is a felony, but we pretend not to notice. We pretend a lot of things. With practice, we get really good at pretending.

There are two possible approaches to a situation like this, where the machinery of justice cannot operate as intended:

  1. We can go through the motions, pretending the trial is fair and the jury is impartial, although everyone knows this is untrue. That is, we can pay our respects to Lady Justice, even as we manipulate behind her back. We can pay her lip service while making a joke of her rules and a charade of the trial.
  2. We can bypass the normal mechanisms of justice, given that they cannot operate as they should in these conditions. We can take former officer Chauvin out of jail in the middle of the night and hang him from a tree down the street from the courthouse. That is, we can show our respect for Lady Justice by not pretending to serve her while going behind her back. We can be honest and punish the accused in front of the world: This is what he deserved, and this is what he got.

Obviously, we choose option 1. We reject lynching as an unhappy, disgraceful memory of racism and vigilante justice. But we must face the reality that although option 1 is preferable to option 2, option 1 is very far from ideal. We must face the reality that in this world, imperfect justice is often the best we can hope for.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt, we must do the best we can, with what we have, where we are. If we do that, we may remain dissatisfied and frustrated, but at least we will be able to sleep at night.

https://www.gannett-cdn.com/presto/2021/04/19/USAT/72f07b2d-c22d-4b05-a52c-819129a08da0-DESK_THUMB.00_01_12_02.Still009.jpg?width=1320&height=742&fit=crop&format=pjpg&auto=webp

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