I’ve tried my best to avoid coverage of the Jackson trial. Still, a certain amount of this is inescapable.
It would be easy to blame the Jackson acquittal on the jury. And, indeed, they share some of the blame. For example, there were the jurors who exonerated Jackson because they were personally offended by the mother of the victim. This evinces a willful moral blindness.
Mind you, the witnesses were pretty seamy and seedy. But that tells you something about Michael himself. You can judge a man by the company he keeps. That’s how we judge a Mafia Don.
But the problem runs much deeper. The problem lies with the standard of evidence. As currently constituted, a juror is supposed to perform a self-lobotomy.
What would be the natural reaction? On the one hand, Jackson has zero interest in women. This is a man who could have his pick of women. Even now, he has his coterie of clueless, slavish groupies. To judge by what one reads and hears, he is either unable or unwilling to even “perform” with a member of the opposite sex.
On the other hand, he has a very active and avid interest in boys. He’s turned Neverland into an amusement park to lure unsuspecting boys. He has them for sleepovers. He has them in his bedroom. He has them in his bed. He has an appetite for homosexual pornography.
Now, the natural reaction would be—what more do you need to know? That’s all the evidence—more than enough—to figure out what’s going on here. Even if you didn’t have any specific evidence of a specific crime against a specific victim—indeed, even if he didn’t commit the specific crime of which he’s accused—you might as well convict him while you’ve got the chance for all the other stuff he’s gotten away with.
But, of course, that would be a big no-no under our judicial system. The judge would declare a mistrial if he found out that poor Mr. Jackson had been convicted on such utterly common sense grounds.
So the Jackson jurors did their job in the sense that they played the role assigned to them as dutiful little wind-up toy soldiers who follow orders, however inane and unjust. They acquitted a man they all thought was guilty because the highly technical burden of proof had not been met.
And to this I’d just say that the time is long past due for the general public to reclaim the principle of popular sovereignty. To remember that judges “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” in the words of the Declaration of Independence.
We don’t need another revolution. We just need to exercise the rights we already have.