Emmett Till Grand Jury: No True Bill

Once again, no justice for Emmett Till. The grand jury investigating his 1955 murder has returned a "no true bill" against Carolyn Bryant, now 72.

The grand jury in Leflore County wrapped up its work this past week and issued a "no bill" against Carolyn Bryant, the widow of one of two white men originally acquitted of Till's death. A "no bill" means the grand jury found insufficient evidence existed for an indictment on a criminal charge. Documents made public Tuesday show prosecutors sought a manslaughter charge

.....Till was kidnapped from the Leflore County town of Money in 1955. Three days later, the 14-year-old's mutilated body was found in the Tallahatchie River.

Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant's husband, and his half brother, J.W. Milam, were acquitted of the crime by an all-white jury. The two men later confessed in an interview with Look magazine. Till had been accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, and some witnesses have said a woman's voice could be heard at the scene of the abduction.

David Seth at Daily Kos has the details and a strong reaction.

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    i realize this is a short and very incomplete (none / 0) (#1)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02:05:07 PM EST

      but is there any evidence tending to impllicate her beyond her being the one to which the whistle was directed, her husband being involved and "a woman's voice... heard at the scene...."

      If that was the case, then why hould it have resulted in an indictment?

    Good Question (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02:11:15 PM EST
    Here's what David Seth says in the DKos comments to his diary:

    People at the scenes of lynchings are usually involved in it. If they aren't they leave. If it was this woman's voice, and presumably there was some evidence that it was, and she was at the scene of the abduction that preceded the beating and shooting of Till and then tying a cotton gin fan to his body and throwing it in the Tallahatchie River, and she could be heard talking with the other defendants, is that beginning to look like aiding and abetting the abduction or isn't it? I know, mere presence at the scene of a crime is not proof of guilt.  But come on.   This is 1955 in the Mississippi delta.

    And it's not beyond a reasonable doubt to indict, it's just reasonable cause to believe a felony may have been committed.  This was another miscarriage in this case.  

    I realize you are just (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02:21:25 PM EST
     pointing out what someone else said, but he says:

    "People at the scenes of lynchings are usually involved in it. If they aren't they leave."

      Mere presence as we all know and frequently point out is not sufficient to establish guilt as an aceesory in any degree. In the absence of aiding, encouraging, inciting, etc., failure to leave while morally reprehensible, is not illegal.

    "If it was this woman's voice, and presumably there was some evidence that it was..."

      I was asking if there was more evidence, such as if it was her voice. Just criminal justice systems do not "presume" such things.

      And, while it just takes probable cause to indict, subtract the presumptions that author makes and i still must ask what is the evidence that makes failure to indict her a miscarriage of justice?

      We must bear in mind that one great injustice is not cured by another, even if lesser, in the opposite direction.

      The desire to hold someone responsible is human nature and that the guilty esscaped just intensifies that but we still must have evidence.


    The Death of Emmett Till (none / 0) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02:22:59 PM EST
    "Twas down in Mississippi no so long ago,
    When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door.
    This boy's dreadful tragedy I can still remember well,
    The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till.

    Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up.
    They said they had a reason, but I can't remember what.
    They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to repeat.
    There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street.

    Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
    And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain.
    The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it ain't no lie,
    Was just for the fun of killin' him and to watch him slowly die.

    And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial,
    Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till.
    But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime,
    And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind.

    I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
    The smiling brothers walkin' down the courthouse stairs.
    For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free,
    While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea.

    If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust,
    Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust.
    Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow,
    For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

    This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
    That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan.
    But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,
    We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live.

    Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music  

    There's a documentary about the case (none / 0) (#5)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 02:51:25 PM EST
    Watch it. Look at the stony faces of the all-white jury as they tune out all the details of a grisly murder for no reasons other than pure malice and sheer inhumanity. Look at the eerie, smiling faces at a Segregationist rally and try to find something, anything, that would help you distinguish it from a Nazi rally circa 1940.

    Emmett Till's death was no accident. It was merely a symptom of a cancer upon this nation, one that is still with us, as some of his killers are still alive, along with many of their contemporaries. I don't believe for a moment that American fascism is dead; I've seen too many rural Southern towns with confederate flags on every porch, and I know they're not "historical enthusiasts". I will never forgive the apologists who tell us that we should forget about the lynch mobs.

    Not even the Nazis were cold-blooded enough to be photographed next to their victims.


    Watch it (none / 0) (#10)
    by bx58 on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 09:07:36 AM EST
    " Look at the stony faces of the all-white jury as they tune out all the details of a grisly murder for no reasons other than pure malice and sheer inhumanity."

    It is hard to watch, just as it  was hard to watch black college students jump up and down with glee after another travesty of justice forty years later.

    Some things never change.


    Anna Nicole was lynched? (none / 0) (#21)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:32:21 PM EST
    Worst comparison ever.

    Bitter Fruit (none / 0) (#6)
    by ZPoster on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 03:38:53 PM EST
    Mississippi.  Goddamn.

    For what it is worth... (none / 0) (#7)
    by MS atty on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 03:45:22 PM EST
    I have no inside information on the proceedings, but I would be shocked if racism had anything to do with this outcome.  The population in Leflore County is mostly African-American and I can almost guarantee you from having seen juries in Coahoma, Sunflower and other places up there that whites on the grand jury were greatly in the minority.

    I would also remind folks from outside Mississippi that other counties here have put several former Klansmen away in recent years.  

    Wonder (none / 0) (#8)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 07:06:16 PM EST
    Cases like this make me wonder how anyone can put on a defense for something that happened 50 years ago.  Memories fade.  Your alibi witness may have forgotten.  You may have forgotten who your alibi witness is in the first place.

    or died... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 06:59:15 AM EST
      Bringing cases long after events creates all sorts of potential problems. For that reason, prosecutors should use extra care in such instances where a prosecution is allowed by a lack of or very long SOL. On the other hand, some cases deserve to be brought long after the fact.

     There can be no bright line rules for such questions and these things can only be decided on a case by case basis in light of all the facts and circumstances.

      Because of that, we really just have to rely on the judgment and good faith of the people with decision-making power. Because we know it is a given that not everyone has good judgment and acts in good faith we will continue to just muddle through.


    Mike (none / 0) (#45)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 02:43:19 PM EST

    The acquittal of Emmett Till's killers (none / 0) (#11)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 09:42:23 AM EST
    was no greater injustice than the acquittal of OJ. Both verdicts were the result of racism. Why not reopen the OJ investigation and indict Al Cowlings or Robert Kardashian, who certainly disposed of evidence?

    that's one opinion, and.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 09:51:24 AM EST
    if we assume the acquittals in both case were wrong then simply by 2 victims versus 1  you can make that case.

      However, looking from a different perspective, the acquittals of Southern whites for murders of blacks in that era was both emblematic and symptomatic of far broader cultural and social realities than the acquittal of simposon and had far greater repercussions on society as a whole.

      On one level though both spring from the same underlying-- and important-- principle: Our system is predicated on the belief that wrongful convictions are more of an injustice than the wrongful acquittals

    You have some valid points, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 10:38:22 AM EST
    but I would argue that the OJ verdict and the celebration of it by a large portion of the black community was enormously damaging to race relations.

    The dynamics surrounding (none / 0) (#16)
    by Electa on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 01:28:15 PM EST
    the OJ case and the horrific murder of Emmett Till are oceans apart.  As an African American I can relate to the glee expressed by African Americans at OJ's acquittal although many AAs can't stand OJ.  It was for a moment the appearance of justice after years of injustices towards Blacks in this country although perceived by most whites as a grave injustice.  

    Emmett Till was an innocent 14 yr. old child who was slaughtered like an animal in a most decadent manner.  Nicole and Ron were also slaughtered unmercifully but for the sake of one individual's hatred.  Emmett for the hatred of an entire people.  

    You argue that the expressed zeal of Blacks over OJ's acquittal put a strain on race relations.  I argue that 300 yrs. of slavery, Jim Crow and it's resultant socio-economic effects on Blacks today poses an even greater strain on ethnic relationships.  There are probably Blacks sitting in prison right now in retaliation for the murder of Nicole and Ron and OJ getting off scott free, if indeed he committed the killings.


    Why the glee? (none / 0) (#17)
    by bx58 on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 01:48:59 PM EST
    "As an African American I can relate to the glee expressed by African Americans at OJ's acquittal"

    "Emmett Till was an innocent 14 yr. old child who was slaughtered like an animal in a most decadent manner.  Nicole and Ron were also slaughtered unmercifully but for the sake of one individual's hatred.  Emmett for the hatred of an entire people."

    For the sake of whom or what was that spontaneous eruption of glee? To me it was just a symptom of the underlying racial tensions we'd all like to forget are out there.

    Not every black person jumped for joy when OJ walked, just like many whites felt revulsion at the Till verdict of 1955. Some things never change.


    trolling (none / 0) (#23)
    by Sailor on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:57:10 PM EST
    OJ was a marital problem.

    Till was a lynching for being 'uppity.' A whole community was involved in the lynching. Many states and gov't officials were involved in other lynchings. They were proud of it and posed for pictures.

    The 2 have nothing in common except for someone who wants to distrct from the discourse.


    If we forget about the racial (none / 0) (#40)
    by Electa on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 07:18:34 PM EST
    tensions how will they ever be resolved, if there is such a thing?  The glee wasn't the result of OJ getting off with killings, if he did it but rather a mockery of the injustice of the so-called criminal justice system.  

    You are correct, not every Black person rejoiced over OJ's acquittal, myself being one of them, however that doesn't dispel the fact that I can relate to why some felt a sense of justice for the moment.  

    What astounds me is how the media and most whites didn't accept the jury's decision and continue to try OJ 10 yrs. later, another indication of the racism that exists in this country.  Blacks are judicially railroaded and incarcerated by the thousands everyday in America, some who are innocent, but because they are found guilty by a jury, in most instances who are not their peers, they are guilty even if there is evidence to the contrary.  But in the case of OJ he is forever guilty although he was acquitted.  Maybe he did, maybe he didn't commit the killings, only OJ knows.  


    How (none / 0) (#14)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 11:54:16 AM EST
    many lynchings -- and castrations and torturings and beatings for which no one was ever charged, occurred, between, say, the turn-of-the-cent and Till's murder?

    To compare the "enormously damaging" effect of the O.J acquittal to the decades old pattern which the murder of that boy Emmett Till was part of, can only come about through some kind of pathologically distorted sense of history, and, quite likely, morality.

    The United States of Amnesia strikes again.

    O.J's verdict (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 12:22:12 PM EST
    had nothing little or nothing to do with "racism"; it had to do with O.J being able to poney up for Baily, Cochrane, Dershowitz, Scheck, Kerry Mullis etc etc

    But, justice and its relation to class has always been a bit of a no-no topic.

    IMO.... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:02:27 PM EST
    comparing a lynching that is a lasting stain on our history to a run of the mill, love triangle double murder is quite a reach.

    Not the same ballpark, not the same league, not the same sport.


    Add... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:05:27 PM EST
    One case involves a 14 year old boy viciously beaten and murdered for the color of his skin and no other reason.

    One case involves a celebrity murdering his ex and her male friend.

    C'mon gang.


    More add..... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:11:13 PM EST
    If and when black celebrities murdering white women and getting away with it becomes an epidemic like lynchings in the South were...then you might be on to something.

    kdog (none / 0) (#22)
    by bx58 on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:45:37 PM EST
    Not comparing the two crimes.

    I'm comparing the reactions people had to the two verdicts.

    The gleeful demonstrations or the swarmy grins should make any normal persons skin crawl.

    There's no justification for either of them.


    But You Are (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 02:57:27 PM EST
    I am sure that many white people also cheered OJ's aquittal. I am also sure no black people cheered Carolyn Bryant's vindication.

    You cannot compare any substantial aspect of these two cases. Hard to imagine that you do not see that.


    The substantial comparable (none / 0) (#26)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 03:12:57 PM EST
    aspect is that OJ was acquitted because he was black-just as the other two were acquitted because they were white -it is as simple as that. OJ brutally murdered two people and there should have been no celebration of his acquittal by anyone.

    Wrong (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 03:16:46 PM EST
    OJ was acquitted primarily because the police blew it and contaminated the evidence. Secondly because he was rich and famous enough to hire the best lawyers in town.

    And thirdly (none / 0) (#30)
    by bx58 on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 04:07:56 PM EST
    he had a jury made up of people who wanted to stick it to the man. Don't we all?

    You just have to control it and they didn't. Jury nullification was guaranteed when they were chosen.

    Jury nullification in the Till case was...well those people had no chance.


    Ummm..... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 03:17:06 PM EST
    I disagree, OJ was acquited because he was rich and the LAPD had a corrupt reputation.  If his name was Orenthal Jones with a public defender he'd be in San Quentin right now...of this I have little doubt.

    your both partially correct (none / 0) (#29)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 03:38:25 PM EST
     He needed good lawyers and money to provide them with resources  but he also needed police misconduct and incompetence for those lawyers to exploit.

      Without either he likely would have been convicted. IF LAPD had doe exactly the same and he had mediocre representation and a lack of resources he probably would have been convicted, but even with the best money could buy he also probably would have been convicted absent the atrocious performance of the LAPD and the prosecution team.


    Still..... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 03:03:58 PM EST
    I don't think the reaction to the OJ verdict was glee over a white woman's murder going unpunsished....it was glee of LAPD corruption being exposed and costing the DA a case....for a change.  

    The swarmy grins over the original Till verdict was glee that a black boy's murder would go unpunished...again.

    Just my 2 cents, I could be wrong.


    kdog (none / 0) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 04:58:21 PM EST
    I think the main source for any OJ "glee" was that a black man got over on the white man, or more generally, got over on what is perceived as the "anti-black system."

    I think a very minor part of that glee was due to LAPD corruption exposed; very few of those exhibiting glee lived in LA or have any experience, interest or knowledge of the LAPD.

    Personally, my reaction was disgust that the corruption existed, not glee that it was exposed, but that's just me.

    I agree with your interpretation of the glee in the Till case.


    Does anyone else remember ... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Sailor on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:26:09 PM EST
    ... when this thread was about Emmet Till being lynched?

    OJ = Till!? WTF is wrong with you people!?


    and on the backstretch... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:31:57 PM EST
    And closing on the outside it's Sailor....

    I hear you.... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:51:00 PM EST
    I was thinking more generally about how black people have gotten the shaft from police, DA's office, and the courts all over the country in varying degrees.  Past like Emmit Till and present.  

    The LAPD came to signify it at that time after Rodney King and the popularity of west coast rap and the string of movies like "Boyz in the Hood", "South Central", etc.  

    When OJ beat "the man", you could call it a first.  I think the nature of the crime is irrelevant to the reaction pretty much.

    I'm confident we agree that any post-OJ "glee" had little to nothing to do with 2 white people being dead, the same can't be said for Emmit Till.


    kdog (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 06:20:55 PM EST
    Good point, although I wonder if specifically Till's death and his murderer's acquittal was less important to those "gleeful" than their receiving confirmation that their way of life, or maybe what they considered the "righteous" order of things, or whatever, was upheld.

    In a similar vein I think the "glee" after the OJ verdict was because it proved exactly the opposite - that, for once anyway, what they consider the expected "un-righteous" order of things (ie., anti-black legal system) was not upheld.

    iow (speaking from the point of view of someone who was not alive during the Till case, avoids "the South" like the plague, and has really no clue what these people were thinking - which means I got nothin') I think any "glee" in ether case was not in support of the actual murders, per se, but rather in support of the status quo being upheld in one case, and it being overturned in the other.


    OJ didn't beat "the man" (none / 0) (#39)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 06:41:33 PM EST
    he killed two people and walked. That you justify it is disgusting. I'm still waiting for someone to document the "glee" at the Till verdict. I don't think it happened.

    No body should have (none / 0) (#32)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:23:26 PM EST
    celebrated either verdict. I find it quite odd that you attribute horrible motives to the imagined celebrations of the Emmett Till acquittal(Who was celebrating? The Klan?), while assigning such innocent motives to the blacks celebrating the acquittal of a double murderer.

    How should I have felt watching black people literally jump for joy when that piece of garbage was turned loose?

    Dunno (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:32:40 PM EST
    How you should have of felt. Most people I know either jumped for joy because they were an OJ fan or screamed bloody murder because they thought he was guilty, irrespective of the color of their skin.

    I do not see how you can compare the two cases. OJ's alleged crime had nothing to do with racism. The way I understood the charges it was more along the lines of a crime of passion.

    Do you feel cheated when black people in general get acquitted or do you just hate OJ.


    I never said his crime was related (none / 0) (#36)
    by Pancho on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 05:45:30 PM EST
    to racism, I said his acqittal was and I stand by that.

    Does anyone remember the Zebra killings? They were much worse than the Emmett Till case because of the sheer numbers, but have been completely buried by a PC society where black on white racism cannot be acknowleged.

    I have no problem when innocent black people are acquitted; I just don't like murderers. I wanted Manson and Gacy to fry as much as I did OJ and Tookie.


    Well, Pancho won't be (none / 0) (#42)
    by Electa on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 07:39:25 PM EST
    feeling cheated very often, since few if any Blacks are acquitted.  OJ was truly an exception and you're correct the crime had nothing to do with racism.

    How should you have felt Pancho? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Electa on Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 07:35:32 PM EST
    That I can't answer, nor do I expect you to understand how and why Blacks responded to OJ being acquitted.  You say he murdered 2 people, 12 said he didn't and that's the difference.

    Twelve in Mississippi said (none / 0) (#43)
    by Pancho on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 12:25:32 AM EST
    the same thing. Are you OK with that? I'm not!

    Hell no it's not OK, but that's America (none / 0) (#44)
    by Electa on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 02:23:22 AM EST
    the diff between you and me is that I don't expect anymore out of her.  It's just the way she is.

    Actually (none / 0) (#46)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 03:28:56 PM EST
      The verdict meant that they were not persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the evidence that he did it, not that they think he didn't do it.

    Exactly... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Electa on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 04:48:31 PM EST
    The verdict meant that they were not persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt based upon the evidence that he did it, not that they think he didn't do it.

    Most think that he did it, but given the injustices and historical discriminatory practices of the justice system, such as in the case of Tille,unfortunately, the stimulus that drove the "jumping up and down", "glee" or whatever the description one chooses to equate, overshadowed the horrific crime that was allegely committed by OJ.  How sad.  Maybe the Goldman's will find some form of solace in this weeks ruling awarding OJ's royalties from past work.  Afterall, their son was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


    "Most think that he did it" (none / 0) (#48)
    by Pancho on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 05:05:16 PM EST
    Are these people really OK with OJ going free?

    How many more do we have to let go before we're even? Does it have to be a murderer of a white person to count? Do the black on white murders, which are adding up much faster than vice versa reduce the number we owe you? How about black on black murder? Is that whitey's fault also?

    I don't lose any sleep over it. (none / 0) (#50)
    by Peaches on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 05:11:35 PM EST
    I don't like it, but wtf? We have a system and the system didn't convict a presumably guilty person for a number of reasons. SOmetimes it works out that way.

    Better luck next time.

    But I tell you what bothers me more than a guilty murderer going free. Its an innocent man being found guilty by a corrupt system and being locked up for 32 years. That's an injustice. OJ going free is a cost of having a fair and just system that requires proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The case of Gary Tyler


    I appreciate the sentiment (none / 0) (#51)
    by Pancho on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 05:52:23 PM EST
    and I agree in the case of OJ, who is not likely to kill again, but I would rather have an innocent person locked up than have an innocent person killed by a quadruple murderer that was turned loose on a technicality.

    James Ealy


    Talk about disgusting..... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 06:20:30 PM EST
    I can't believe you said that...letting some guilty men go free to prevent convicting innocents is the bedrock of our justice system. Essential for a society free from tyranny.

    Shame on you sir.


    Did you even read the link? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Pancho on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 09:16:21 AM EST
    James Ealy UNQUESTIONABLY, killed four people, but was turned loose to kill again. The woman he killed has clearly suffered a worse fate than an innocent person who has done jail time.

    Ealy was a convicted rapist that was dating one of the victims; that should be all the probable cause you need.


    That poor woman.... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 09:42:02 AM EST
    was killed by an individual.  Sad, yes....but part of the deal of living on planet earth with human beings.  We have always had a bad habit of killing, raping, and robbing each other...regrettably it is part of our nature.

    An innocent man inprisoned or executed is wronged by the state, not an individual.  If you don't see the difference I can't help you.


    well... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 09:54:49 AM EST
     ...  there is a difference, but dead is dead and to the people of the dead person, it is little solace that it was just an individual that did the killing.

      It is perfectly reasonable for someone to think that killing by an individual, WHILE DIFFERENT,  is at least as bad as killing by the State. That you don't agree with that position is also reasonable. Neither view nor variations of either view should be ignored when we discuss policy.


    Most... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 07:45:03 AM EST
      ...(I won't say all because I read enough comments here to persuade me twisted, and sometimes frightening, ideas of justice exist) would prefer a "perfect" system of justice existed in which all guilty people are charged, apprehended, convicted and appropriately punished and no innocent people are even charged.

      We will never have that because no system designed and operated by human beings can be perfect. Thus, we have to make decisions premised upon the knowledge of our imperfection. We have from the beginning built our system on the idea that because of the inherent relative strength  of government and relative weakness of the individual, it is preferable to account for the "imperfection factor" by placing checks on government due to the belief  that those checks are warranted because the consequences of the imperfections that can result in wrongful prosecution of innocents are a greater threat to the concepts of freedom and liberty than the imperfections that can result in the wronful evasion of punshment of the guilty are to the safety and security of our communities.

       Reasonable people can and do disagree about the scope and nature of the checks which should be established (e.g., Is the exclusionary rule the proper sanction for illegal search and seizure or involuntary confessions? Should unanimous verdicts be required? Should probative evidence be excluded because of "unfair" prejudice? etc.) Rational arguments can be made against all of these checks but can and are countered by our longstanding bedrock principole that it is better that imperfections result in some number of the guilty evading true justice for their wrongs than for a single individual to be unjustly deprived of liberty or even life because of the imperfection of the system.

      As we know, without dispute, that even with the checks in place, inncocent people still are unjustly convicted and punished in this country with some frequency do we really want to eliminate these checks to ensure more of the guilty are punished? No honest and knowledgable person would deny that far more guilty evade punishment than innocent receive punishment nor would he deny that sometimes that evasion has tragic consequences down the road. But, with full appreciation of the consequences, I believe. that on balance, we must premise our system on the idea that the imperfections require strong checks on the power of government.


    If (none / 0) (#49)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 05:10:18 PM EST
    you need a racist catharsis Pancho, and it sounds like you do, just go through the photographic record of all lynchings in the last century that your spiritual ancestors were so happy to record for posterity. The experience should more than make up for O.J and all the unpunished "black on white crime" that troubles you so much.

    No Jondee (none / 0) (#52)
    by Pancho on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 05:54:56 PM EST
    as I made VERY clear I do not approve of ANY murder, including Till's, unlike the blacks celebrating OJs release.

    You need a racist strawman because you cannot handle the facts.