The David Camm verdict provoked a lot of strong emotions and I avoided blogging about it during the trial. One the one side, the frightening prospect that an innocent man had been imprisoned for such a long time. On the other, the notion that a man guilty of killing his family would walk free. What it did not provoke, thankfully, was violence.
After three trials, a jury from outside the area determined that the evidence did not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A number of lawyers were not surprised by the verdict based upon Boney’s conviction, the complexity of the DNA evidence, and the limited motive (insurance) proffered by the State. The primary two motives, adultery and molestation, having been rejected by the Court of Appeals.
Our criminal system purposefully requires a high standard of proof to convict and this is especially true in murder cases. Some of the jurors may have believed David Camm committed the crimes, but were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Many countries do not have a right to trial by a jury of local citizens. The right to a jury trial is one of our most important constitutional rights. Some have spoken about how difficult it is for juries to understand complex legal and factual issues, but very few advocate for the removal of this fundamental right. The verdict will never satisfy everyone, but the system of law, not the mob, won.