To End All Evil

Erm, Marcia Clark on the Casey Anthony verdict:


Sick, shaken, in disbelief. As I listened to the verdicts in the Casey Anthony case, acquitting her of the homicide of her baby girl, I relived what I felt back when court clerk Deirdre Robertson read the verdicts in the Simpson case. But this case is different. The verdict far more shocking. 

Why? Because Casey Anthony was no celebrity. She never wowed the nation with her athletic prowess, shilled in countless car commercials, or entertained in film comedies. There were no racial issues, no violent Rodney King citywide riot just two years earlier. 

Because of those factors, many predicted from the very start in the Simpson case--in fact, long before we even began to pick a jury--that it would be impossible to secure a conviction.

Leaving the analysis aside, I'm always amazed that people are surprised by a not guilty verdict. For all of my railing against prosecutorial misconduct, the job of a prosecutor strikes me as really, really, really difficult. This is rather obvious, but the fact of the thing is that the burden of proof is on the state, not the accused. The American justice system, by its very nature, guarantees that people who perpetuate horrendous evil will, with some regularity, go free.

I'm totally fine with that. It's always struck me as clear-eyed, realistic and deeply moral. Human justice has limits. It can not purge the world of evil.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

Video

Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in National

From This Author

Just In