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Defaulting to the State


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Defaulting to the State

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The King Prawn / June 22, 2017 / 245 COMMENTS

 

Police Ofc. Jeronimo Yanez and Philando Castile.

David French has written twice about the verdict in the Philando Castile case: the first when the verdict came down; then again when the dashcam video was made public. Of Yanez (the officer who shot Castile) he wrote, “he still panicked, and he should have been held accountable. The jury’s verdict was a miscarriage of justice.” After the video was released, he wrote why he believes the verdict came down as it did. “When I saw that palpable panic, I immediately knew why he was acquitted. The unwritten law trumped the statutes on the books. The unwritten law is simple: When an officer is afraid, he’s permitted to shoot.” [emphasis mine]

 This is not the only unwritten law we follow in our criminal justice system. We’ve built and operated the entire thing to default to the defendant over the state; some would say we do so to a fault. The idea was first espoused by Voltaire who wrote in 1749, “that ’tis much more Prudence to acquit two Persons,   :snip: 

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