Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A moment on the Casey Anthony Trial

Well, this afternoon proved the old adage we mediators use in talking to the parties about the unpredictable nature of jury verdicts, is true. You can't begin to guess what happens in the deliberation room no matter what side of a case you are on, nor how many years of experience in the law you might have.

That is the genius of self-determination in the mediation process. The parties get to decide their own fate and do not rely on the whim of folks picked from a voter or driver list.

Thankfully, our civil justice system has avenues for resolution before the jury trial. Though criminal plea bargains are reached in the majority of state cases, mediation is not a recognized method of achieving them. Perhaps, one day, that will be explored to alleviate the public expense of a trial such as this.

In looking at the murder charge acquittal today, I am reminded of the law school lessons in criminal law from Maimonides, expounding on Exodus 23:7 ("the innocent and righteous slay thou not") and Blackstone, Franklin and the others ("it is better that a hundred guilty persons go free, than to put a single innocent one to death.").

At least I can use today as a lesson in the jury system and hope that those for which I serve as a neutral facilitator continue to save themselves thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and avoid the risk of an unpredictable result or jury verdict.