Procedural Justice and a Nation of Laws

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
07/07/2011
       
Procedural Justice and a Nation of Laws

Casey Anthony, the young woman arrested and tried for having murdered her three-year-old daughter, has just been acquitted of the most serious charges that had been leveled against her. Scores of people who had been following this case closely from the beginning are outraged over the verdict. Like O.J. Simpson 16 years earlier, Anthony, they swear, just got away with murder.

Admittedly, I don’t know nearly as much about the details of this situation as those who are now indignant over how it ended.  But it isn’t to the Anthony case itself that I wish to speak but, rather, the notions of justice that it has brought to the surface.

Those who believe that Casey Anthony did indeed murder her daughter view her acquittal as proof that justice, in this case, has not been served. It is hard not to sympathize with this sentiment, for there is nothing easier in the world than to regard justice in terms of results. Yet for as difficult as it may be to refrain from identifying with this conception of justice, it is imperative that we try, for nothing less than our freedom as Americans depends upon it.

Casey Anthony, the young woman arrested and tried for having murdered her three-year-old daughter, has just been acquitted of the most serious charges that had been leveled against her. Scores of people who had been following this case closely from the beginning are outraged over the verdict. Like O.J. Simpson 16 years earlier, Anthony, they swear, just got away with murder.

Admittedly, I don’t know nearly as much about the details of this situation as those who are now indignant over how it ended.  But it isn’t to the Anthony case itself that I wish to speak but, rather, the notions of justice that it has brought to the surface.

Those who believe that Casey Anthony did indeed murder her daughter view her acquittal as proof that justice, in this case, has not been served. It is hard not to sympathize with this sentiment, for there is nothing easier in the world than to regard justice in terms of results. Yet for as difficult as it may be to refrain from identifying with this conception of justice, it is imperative that we try, for nothing less than our freedom as Americans depends upon it.

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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)

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