Tuesday, June 14, 2005

JUST US. I don't know if Michael Jackson is innocent, but I know he was found innocent, and there I intend to let the matter rest.

One of former Mayor Ed Koch's very few attractive habits was this: whenever a famous and contentious trial -- Bernard Goetz's, Larry Davis' etc. -- came to an end, he would say, "The people have spoken," and say no more about it.

That shows an admirable (though, alas, rare) understanding that criminal justice is not the same thing as politics, especially the debased sort of politics we have nowadays. The disposition of an accused citizen's case, and life, is a far more important and delicate thing than the hog-calling contests that decide our political leadership.

I will add that, in this as in every celebrity trial, the ignorant presumption of even intelligent people as to the guilt or innocence of the accused is breathtaking. If I were to divide the world into two types of people (and I sort of do), it would comprise the kind who would rather see the guilty freed than the innocent sentenced, and the other, lesser kind.

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