Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

A juror in the Derek Chauvin trial has spoken to the press about his time on the jury, and some of what he says should frighten us all.  

Brandon Mitchell was Juror 52.   He is quoted in a CNN story as saying, 

“During the opening statements, I was curious or find out what the defense was going to bring to the table and convince us jurors. I didn't see any avenues to which they could go."

At the beginning of the trial, during opening statements, before a single witness is sworn or a single scrap of evidence is presented this juror is wondering what the DEFENSE is going to bring to convince the jurors that Chauvin was not guilty?  HOLY CRAP!!!!   In our system of jurisprudence, we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. At the beginning of a trial a juror should NEVER be wondering how the DEFENSE is going to prove it’s case.  The ONLY side that must PROVE anything is the Prosecution!   The Prosecutor must prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.    

The statement by this juror that he wondered how the DEFENSE was going to prove their case, along with the jurors written statement in his juror questionnaire that he wanted to be on the jury “because of all the protests and everything that happened after the event” he felt the trial was historic and he want to be part of that- says this juror was exposed to the case in advance, and that he did not go into the trial with an open mind.    

In this country, we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, based upon the preponderance of the evidence.   Jurors are supposed to understand that, and a guilty verdict MUST be one that is arrived at through a process such that when the verdict is delivered, no one should be able to point out obvious flaws and errors.  

In this case, based on the published statements of this juror, there is HUGE concern that Chauvin did not get a fair trial.  At least one juror felt Chauvin was guilty going in, or at least that the defense needed to PROVE Chauvin innocent.  

This should frighten ALL of us.   Every one of us should have absolute faith that our judicial system will treat us fairly and that if accused of a crime, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.   All of us should be afraid that if ever taken to court, we might have a Juror 52 who goes into the trial, wondering how the defense is going to prove us innocent.  



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