Chandra Levy and The Rush to Judgment
A guilty verdict came today in the murder trial of Chandra Levy. She was an intern in Washington who might (or might not) have had an affair Congressman Gary Condit ten years ago. She was murdered while in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. Fox News, at the time, turned this into its summer story as All-Levy-All-The-Time trying to force Condit from office.
But that isn’t why I write on the subject. I write because, according to this article, the evidence at the trial of Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique, who was arrested last year and charged with the murder, was reported as thin:
Prosecutors Amanda Haines and Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez obtained a conviction even though they had no eyewitnesses and no DNA evidence linking Guandique to Levy. And Guandique never confessed to police. Prosecutors hung their hopes in large part on a former cellmate of Guandique, Armando Morales, who testified that Guandique confided in him that he killed Levy.
But that news blurb doesn’t mean I have an opinion on guilt. I wasn’t in the courtroom hearing the evidence. By contrast, peruse the comments of the article and look at the rush to judgment in so many different comments. People make up their minds, not on hearing evidence over the course of a trial, but on how some reporter distills it all down to a few sentences. Here are a few samples from the last 10 minutes (there area already over 2,000 comments):
This sounds fishy. No direct evidence—I doubt that this guy would have been convincted if he was a smiling white guy without tattoos. Yes, he committed other crimes, but that doesn’t make him guilty of this one by default. I’m ashamed of our justice system for this decision and I hope it is appealed and overturned.
I think it is weird there is no DNA evidence but at least this guy is going to jail so he won’t attack any more people, just think about what his other victims went through, very glad he is going to jail!
This guy is innocent and the justice system is guilty!!!!!!….what a bunch of stupid attorneys, judges and jury group…seriously??…any fool can see that he did NOT kill her based on NO evidence…the Levy family did not put closure in anyway on this situation…it just reopened the wound!
so how did he become the murderer…wheres the evidence?! I’d love to see it!
another sacco and vanzetti trial
This man didnot do it. The DNA belongs to the middleman of Condit. Fear for his life and bribe for his family made him accept the verdict.
Those knee-jerk reactions are familiar with anyone that has picked a jury. It’s the rush to judgment over “these kinds of cases” if you happen to have a routine sort of fact pattern, such as a car accident. There are many who have already made up their minds. Facts aren’t really important to some people, because they have already made an emotional investment by forming an opinion on the case.
And the job of the trial lawyer is to find out who these people are before they get a chance to sit.