After reading Ms. Mawson's recent letter to the Source, I wondered if she had had the opportunity to sit through the courtroom proceedings and listen to all the arguments presented by the prosecution and the defense in the Virgin Islands' first animal cruelty case. I also wondered if she had heard any of the judge's instructions to the jury as they began their deliberations. Or was she perhaps, privy to some information not known by the rest of us?
I am curious about all this, as Ms. Mawson states that she was "saddened and sickened" by the not-guilty verdict. Had she already tried and convicted the defendant, Mr. Carmona, in the court of her own personal opinion? Or, had the media already decided upon his guilt in the lead-up to this landmark case?
One of the great hallmarks of the United States Constitution is that it maintains a person's innocence until proven guilty. The prosecution bore the heavy burden of proving Mr. Carmona's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and obviously failed to do so. And, while we know that the scales of justice are not always perfect, equal or fair, we must allow the judges, the juries, the defense and the prosecution to carry out the mandates that we have set before them. We must resist any temptation to mob mentality or rush to judgment.
The late, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall wisely stated that the courts were not "there to see the defendant convicted and punished in every case but that they were there to see justice done in every case."
Ms. Mawson should not assume that a travesty occurred because the jury found Mr. Carmona innocent of the charges. As a fifth generation Virgin Islander, she might show greater respect for the decision rendered by her peers, the jury, and trust that justice was indeed served.
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