We can thank a flawed jury system for the Steinle verdict
By Selwyn Duke
Much has been said about the acquittal of felonious invader Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the killer of young Kate Steinle, who died in her father’s arms. Yet while most of the focus has been on “sanctuary cities” — a euphemism for treasonous, lawless cities — there perhaps has been no scrutiny of the people whose minds are too often a sanctuary from knowledge and reality: modern jurors.
The problem stems from “The Error of Impartiality,” which is the title of an essay on this very subject. For what is often perceived in jurors as fairness is just fecklessness, of the moral variety.
When choosing jurors, pains are taken to dismiss people with preconceived notions about the case. But consider: If in question is a high-profile matter such as the O.J. Simpson or Steinle case, what kind of person would know nothing about it and/or have formed no opinions? Does this reflect impartiality or just indifference?
Assuming such a person makes the ideal juror is like supposing that someone still undecided the day before a high-profile election is surely a better voter than someone who reads the news and formed an opinion early on. An undecided individual may be a better voter in the particular (relative to a given wrongly decided voter), but in principle this supposition simply is untrue. G.K. Chesterton explained the matter brilliantly in the aforementioned essay, writing:
Chesterton also noted that the logical outcome of our “impartiality” standard is that a “case ought to be tried by Esquimaux, or Hottentots, or savages from the Cannibal Islands — by some class of people who could have no conceivable interest in the parties, and moreover, no conceivable interest in the case. The pure and starry perfection of impartiality would be reached by people who not only had no opinion before they had heard the case, but who also had no opinion after they had heard it.”
The essay is pure gold, and I strongly recommend you read the whole thing.
I once wrote a piece titled “Why Most Voters Shouldn’t Vote,” and a corresponding principle may be that most jurors shouldn’t sit on juries. People so apathetic that they couldn’t be bothered to try and determine reality on high profile candidates or cases probably won’t transform, magically, into sagacious sleuths of reality upon entering a ballot or jury box. Apathy is not an asset, and ignorance is not a virtue.
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