To End All Evil

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/to-end-all-evil/241495/