I know some of you have followed the Casey Anthony trial closely. I haven’t, but what little I have read about the outcome reminds me of the O.J. Simpson trial back in the 90’s. Many people are outraged and shocked, just as in the O.J. trial. Many people feel that justice was not done – that the system failed, just like the O.J. trial.
I have two thoughts on that. One, the system did not fail – the U.S. judicial system worked like it is designed to. A basic premise, inherited from the ancient Romans via English common law, is that a person is presumed innocent – the state must prove guilt. Unlike a trial by media, (or a trial by gossip, something talked about in 1 Timothy) their must be enough evidence to establish guilt. This even goes back to the Pentateuch, where Moses wrote about the need for two or more witnesses to establish guilt.
Think about this for a minute. Would we really want the opposite? Do we want the government – which has the power to arrest, detain and try people with virtually unlimited resources – to be without any checks or balances to power? How quickly could we become a ‘police state’ We need to have limits on state powers because the state is imperfect – it is made up of sinners (redeemed and otherwise) who make mistakes, sometimes serious, malicious ones. If we cannot guarantee perfect justice, is it not better – when faced with doubts about a case – to let the guilty go rather than convict the innocent?
Which brings me to the second thought – the final Judgment has not been rendered. We want justice now. We must remember that God has all the facts and will make a perfect judgment – soon. We can rest in this, as we know it will happen. The Apostle John was given a preview of this comforting truth…
Revelation 20:11-12 - Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
P.S. – Some more thoughts from a Christian perspective on the Anthony trial can be found here.