by Mark A. Cohen
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Justice is blind.
The U.S. justice system was founded on the premise that no innocent person is to be jailed - ever. Our forward-thinking founding fathers deliberately and thankfully created it in opposition to witch hunts of the past, where people pointed their fingers, cried, “Witch!” and the accused were burned at the stake. This is now called, “mob justice,” and it is backward and foolhardy. Our way stands for the individual person. He or she must always be presumed innocent until proven guilty - beyond a reasonable doubt, independent of whether or not we agree or disagree with the verdict later on. The American founders would rather have had a boatload of guilty men walk free than any one innocent person suffer punishment for uncommitted crimes. The reason: The brutality of past dictatorships and the inequities of royal rule. My own father, a Communist and later, a socialist, didn’t like the system but respected it, and stood with unwavering support for this principle. He taught me that if I ever wanted a law changed, I should respect it, never break it, and at the same time, work for its change through the system.
We use evidence, not emotions.
The law is blind, they say. I served on Jury Duty in Florida twice. A man stood accused of drunk driving both times. We (two separate juries) convicted the one I empathized with and found the other man innocent (whom I felt deserved punishment). Under the law, each of these juries had to abide by the instructions given by each judge, and we adhered to the letter of the law each time. I didn’t like either decision, but felt compelled to decide both – against my feelings. This is why it is said that justice is blind.
If we don’t support our imperfect system, the innocent shall serve time.
During a third trial in Colorado, I served as a juror in the case of a fine looking, well-dressed man, who stood accused of robbery. His story sounded plausible, and as each other juror became convinced of his guilt, I made certain to give the man every benefit of the doubt. I almost hung the jury, ensuring that we covered every possible out for the guy – until the other jurors proved his guilt to me, according to the evidence presented in court. When the head juror read the verdict I felt horrible, convicting another human being of a crime. His lawyers presented him as such a fine, upstanding member of society. However, after the trial ended, the judge and lawyers from both sides came separately to visit us just before we left. We asked them about the plaintiff, and one of them told us the man had already been convicted of several other crimes. I thought we made the right decision, but I’m glad I did the right thing and gave him a chance during our deliberations. Criminal or not, and no matter how you feel about the defendant or victim, every accused person deserves a chance.
The law is set up to give even the worst person the best chance for acquittal. Consider the alternative. Our system may not be perfect, and we may not agree with each verdict, but we must not be like the people who participated in the witch trials. Innocent until proven guilty – beyond a reasonable doubt, is the best policy. We must stand by the legal system; it’s the best the world has to offer. Would you want to be convicted of a crime you didn’t commit only because someone thought you might be guilty?
…And to the republic for which it stands...
There seem to be plenty of people who want to inject race into the Zimmerman case, but our legal system conducted the trial under laws passed in the U.S. and Florida. I think the case in question should not be intellectualized. It’s simply one trial. As in my own experience as a juror, the prosecution and the defense presented evidence and a jury reached a verdict – independent of the feelings of any one juror. Is there still some racism in our society? Sure, but that’s a different discussion. Each of us has the choice to assign racism to this case, or not. I realize that there’s always an alternative viewpoint, but I believe it is divisive to do so, and therefore, wrong. The prosecution had its chance to prove Mr. Zimmerman guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury found that it did not.
Don’t forget our pledge, liberty and justice for all.
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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From the Left to the Right, Justice, George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, the legal system, lawyers, plaintiff, defendant
Keywords: "Conservatism", "Conservative blog", "Mark A. Cohen", "From The Left to the Right", “Justice”, “George Zimmerman”, “Trayvon Martin”, “the legal system”, “lawyers”, “plaintiff”, “defendant”
Mark A. Cohen is currently seeking representation for his memoir, From The Left to the Right.
Mark A. Cohen is a member of and helps run the Parker Writers Group (Check out their Facebook page here)
Or, see the Parker Writers Group Web page here
Mark A. Cohen’s web site, http://www.mark-cohen.com, is now under construction.
Mark A. Cohen is a member of the Castle Rock Writers (Check out their Facebook page here) Their web page, www.castlerockwriters.com, will also take you to the Facebook page until the web page is completed.
Mark A. Cohen currently sits on the committee which hosted the previous Castle Rock Writers Conference on October 13, 2012. He is currently their Vice-Treasurer. The group, whose motto is Rock Solid Writing, is seeking their 501c3.
Please save the date: Castle Rock Writers will hold the Castle Rock Writers Conference on Saturday, November 23, 2013, at the Douglas County Events Center in Castle Rock, Colorado. Please stay tuned for further information.
Mark A. Cohen will soon be a published author, as the Castle Rock Writers are under contract to write and publish The Chronicles of Douglas County, Colorado, in 2014.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 20 minutes at the Coffee4Conservatives meeting at the Firehouse on State Road 83, in Franktown, CO, on Oct. 21, 2012.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 30 minutes at the Douglas County Republicans’ First Friday Breakfast in Parker, CO, held at The War Horse Inn, on Dec. 2, 2011.
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