Excellent piece by Doug Mataconis about rushing to judgment in the awful Trayvon Martin case:
There is a disturbing tendency in high profile criminal cases for the public, egged on by the constant media coverage and the incessant drone of the talking heads, to rush to judgment long before it’s warranted. We saw it happen in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case only to see those charges dismissed when the accuser’s credibility collapsed like a house of cards. We saw it happen in with Richard Jewell, who was hounded, tried, and convicted, by the media of the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta in 1996 only to be completely cleared of all charges. It happened to former Reagan Administration Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan, who was charged on multiple racketeering counts only to be acquitted, at which point he famously asked “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” It happened to the parents of Jon Benet Ramsey, who spent years being accused int he public of their daughters brutal rape and murder even though the evidence linking them to the crime was as flimsy as possible. It’s happened to people who aren’t famous too, of course. Just ask Cory Maye or Cameron Todd Willingham. Of course, Willingham might not answer because Texas executed him for a crime he didn’t commit.
Rather than rushing to judgment in this case, or any other, we ought to be letting the legal system do its work instead of allowing the Al Sharpton’s of the world to exploit a young man’s tragic death for their own nefarious agendas. For nearly a month, of course, the legal system wasn’t working for Trayvon Martin’s parents, which is why sometimes it is necessary to raise a protest in order to get action to be taken. But, we’re at the point now where action is being taken. The Justice Department is investigating, there’s a Grand Jury being convened. And until there’s a trial and a jury reaches a verdict, George Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Shouldn’t we all just back off on judging the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman based on incomplete evidence and let the system do its job?
I think the answer has to be yes, because the only other alternative is mob justice.