Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An Innocent Mom Locked Up or a Guilty Mom Walking Free?

I hadn't been following the case of poor little Caylee Anthony and her mom Casey Anthony.  We don't get cable, watch Nancy Grace, read magazines, or live in the United States where the trial takes place. This morning, however, my Facebook feed exploded with anger and hurt over the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, where she was found not guilty of murdering her daughter. 

The first thing I did was Wiki and Google.  Then I asked for some articles of choice from people on my Facebook.  I read a bit about it, but I couldn't stop my mind from wandering to a story I read just a few weeks ago in the newspaper on the case of Tammy Marquardt in Ontario.  Tammy Marquardt was convicted of killing her 2 year old son and spent 13+ years in prison, only to be released recently upon the discovery that not only did she not murder her son, it wasn't a murder at all.  During the time she was in prison, she lost custody of her other two children who were put up for adoption.  Not only did she suffer the death of her son with no closure, she missed out on the lives of two other sons, was badly beaten and mistreated in prison for being known as a "baby killer" and picked up a drug problem while there due to the constant agony of her situation.  This was of course, all because of poor expert witnesses testimony and the lack of evidence against her proving her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

So what all this has me thinking is this:

What is the greater injustice; an innocent mother falsely convicted of killing her child being imprisoned and losing a huge irreplaceable chunk of her one life, or a guilty mother walking free and not having to face any consequences for her murderous actions?  

If you had a magic wand and could prevent ONLY one of these things from happening, which would you prevent?  

In criminal law, Blackstone's formulation is the principle: "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," as expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.  Do you agree with Blackstone or do you feel the opposite is true?

A life cut short: the famous picture of precious Caylee Anthony, may she rest in peace.
After 13+ years in prison, Tammy Marquardt holds up a photo of her deceased son whose "murder" she had been convicted of committing. 

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