Friday, May 05, 2006

How The Hell Should I Know?

The general public expects those of us in the legal world to have an opinion on every sensational criminal case thrust into the public eye, be it O.J., Michael Jackson, or now the Duke lacrosse case. As if somehow we have more insight into factual guilt or innocence of those accused of crimes.

And the lonely libertarian is more than tired of it. I don't know all that much about the Duke lacrosse case, nor do I care to. There are thousands of criminal prosecutions every day in the United States, and just because the media has found a story to sensationalize does not mean the story has any real legal significance. It's not that the Duke case doesn't raise any controversial issues- it's just that those of us in the legal world are no more qualified to discuss these issues than anyone else.

As to guilt or innocence, that's precisely what a jury is for. Our system has non-legal jurors decide these factual questions, not legal experts. And even so, why try to make any guesses at this point. If you really feel we should try people in the court of public opinion, why not just do away with juries altogether, and let everyone vote on the internet or their cell phones. Of course this is ridiculous. As is most of the discussion about the Duke lacrosse case.


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