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July 25th, 2009
Why I Have A Problem With Juries

A jury in Clackamas County found parents, who prayed while their child died instead of calling 911, not guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

In explaining their mixed verdict, the presiding juror emphasized that the Worthingtons did not intentionally cause Ava’s death, even though intent was not a requirement for a guilty verdict on either charge.

“Regardless of what the instructions were, a lot of people on the jury believed there was supposed to be intent,” said Ken Byers, one of two jurors who believed Carl Worthington was guilty of manslaughter. “Some people couldn’t clear that hump.”

Mind the word “regardless” here. The judge explains the laws that are to be applied to the case and says that intent is not necessary for a guilty verdict. And yet the jury disregards this instruction and doesn’t return a guilty verdict because the parents didn’t intend to kill their daughter – they just let her die. Oh, wait, they prayed too.

Justice was not served for that poor little girl. The way I see it, if you are relying on faith instead of modern medicine, you do have intent to kill your children – you intend to let nature take its course, if God does not see fit to miraculously heal your child and save their life. In other words, you intend to let your children die.

But all that is neither here nor there. Intent is not needed for a guilty conviction of manslaughter. It doesn’t matter if they intended to kill their child or not. Here’s the law, go read it yourself. Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree. Seems pretty cut and dried to me. It’s laid out pretty clear in the definition of neglect:

Neglect or maltreatment  means a violation of ORS 163.535 (Abandonment of a child), 163.545 (Child neglect in the second degree) or 163.547 (Child neglect in the first degree) or a failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of a child under 14 years of age or a dependent person.

Then there’s this: “Other jurors backed off on the manslaughter charge, he said, because they were convinced that the Worthingtons were good people and they felt sorry for their loss.” (Ken Byers again.) REALLY? REALLY? Oh boo hoo, you let your child die, we’re so sorry for you, we won’t hold you responsible for her death, you didn’t really mean it!

Jury FAIL.

Posted by Claire at 08:47 PM | Current Events, Rant | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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Claire Luna Lundberg