Thank you for taking the time to read my inaugural blog post. Briefly about myself, I live in Fanwood and my law practice is located in Scotch Plains. I am married to my wife Jen and we have a beautiful 10 month old daughter named Bailey. I look forward to hearing your feedback and earning your readership in the weeks and months to come. My blog will primarily deal with legal topics that hopefully are relevant to you and I will also be giving my thoughts on legal matters that are currently in the public spotlight.
The next time we find ourselves complaining about how our American system of justice is flawed, let us remember the Amanda Knox travesty that played out over the last four years in Italy. As a lawyer, I see our justice system in action on a daily basis. Is our system flawed? Yes it is. There is no doubt about it. Juries often times are apathetic or fail to apply the facts of a particular matter to the applicable rule of law. This results in verdicts like those in the O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony matters. The public becomes outrages and the media fans the flames with their non-stop sensationalistic coverage. Everyone decries our American justice system and talks about how the "system failed."
But I ask you: What would you change about our justice system? Would you rather someone who is arrested in America be presumed guilty before their trial is held? Then someone who is charged with a crime would have to convince a jury that they were innocent in order to win their freedom back. That just seems unAmerican to me. The presumption of innocence is a right afforded to all Americans in our court system and something which Amanda Knox was clearly not given at her first trial.
Flawed as it is, I can say with some certainty that Amanda Knox would not have been convicted in the first place (based on the evidence the prosecution put forth), had she been tried for the same crime in America. First, the evidence gathering was flawed. Key DNA samples were contaminated and investigators did not follow standard protocols when gathering evidence at the crime scene.
Additionally, here in America, a prosecutor with the suspect-at-best background which Giuliano Mignini, the Italian prosecutor in the Knox case had, would never have been allowed to try such a high-profile murder case. In America, when an attorney is facing the type of charges Mignini is facing, i.e. abuse of office and abetting in a murder case, an appearance of impropriety is imputed on the attorney. Under no conceivable circumstance would the local prosecutor's office in America have allowed someone with the type of questionable ethics and charges pending against them as Mignini did, to try a murder case like this.
Nor, would Knox have faced the possibility of life in prison during her appeal trial. Lest we forget, when Knox entered the courtroom this week to hear her fate, not only did she face the possibility of having her conviction upheld sending her back to jail to serve her sentence, she also faced the possibility of having her sentence increased to a life term! Here in America, no one can ever face a larger sentence on appeal than that which they received in the lower court.
So, while it angers me as much as it does you when I see Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson walk out of courtrooms as free citizens (well, at least O.J. ultimately got what he has coming to him in Las Vegas), our American system of justice is the best system around --- just ask Amanda Knox about the 4 years of her life she spent in an Italian prison that she will never get back.
Dan McCarey is an attorney in Scotch Plains at the Law Office of Daniel J. McCarey, LLC www.mccareylaw.com