Monday, June 13, 2005

Jackson trial over

I've been asked at no less than 4 venues tonite since I left work about my thoughts on the Jackson trial just concluded this afternoon. For those living in a cave sans internet this past few months...

::::::::SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) - Wanly blowing kisses of gratitude to his screaming fans, Michael Jackson left court a free man Monday and went back to Neverland to pick up the pieces of his shattered career after he was cleared of all charges in his child-molestation trial.

Jackson, 46, heard the words "not guilty" uttered 14 times in a deathly still courtroom. The Peter Pan of pop music could have gotten nearly 20 years behind bars if convicted of charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003.

OK, so... for the record: I think there's been way too much effort expended and attention paid to this trial. I personally do not care for Jackson although, like many my age, I listened to his music back in high school. He's a has-been so far as I'm concerned and I'd have been very pleased to let him slide off into oblivion without fanfare. Such was not to be. Also for the record, I believe very firmly in the basis of our judicial system which tells us to believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Jackson stood accused of multiple crimes and the prosecution was unable to prove him guilty on a single one. People have been quick to point out, cynically, that "not guilty" does not mean "innocent," which is their way of saying he got away with the crimes they've already concluded he committed.

My response is this: if you believe that a man is innocent until proven guilty, and you concede that Jackson was not proven guilty (a matter of public record, now) then you must conclude, if you chose to be logical at all about this, that he is innocent in the eyes of the law. Dislike that conclusion all you like, but that's the conclusion that follows logically and anything else is simply denial. Being innocent in the eyes of the law means that he didn't do what he was accused of. So far, no one I've had this conversation with has been within 1000 miles of Jackson, his home, his alleged victim, or any other part of this proceeding. They're allowing their gut to convince them he's guilty. Fine for them. Not so fine if they want to convince anyone else.

For my part: I'm aware of what my gut's telling me about him. And I'm equally aware that my honor and ethics don't permit me to accuse a man of a criminal act if I can't back it up. Therefore, enough said. Let's get back to important things now, shall we?