In November of 2016 a jury of reasonably intelligent, mature, and educated people was impaneled to make a decision of guilt or innocence of Mr. Ray Tensing in the shooting death of Mr. Sam Dubose. After hearing the testimony of the called witnesses, after viewing the videos and other evidence, this jury, following many hours of deliberation, was not able to agree on a verdict. After reporting twice to the presiding judge that they could not reach a unanimous decision the judge declared a mistrial and ended the trial.
The prosecutor who had already tried and convicted Mr. Tensing in the court of public opinion by using the power of the bully pulpit, apparently was not satisfied that this jury of twelve did not agree with his interpretation of the facts, or at least not all of them did, decided to give it another go. So, in May of 2017 a second trial began, a second jury was impaneled, the evidence and testimony was presented a second time, and the results were the same. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision and a second mistrial was declared.
The proceedings have been called a miscarriage of justice by several groups and they are demanding a third trial. This is where I say that enough is enough. What can be expected by a third trial that will be any different from the first two? The evidence will not change, the video forensics will not change, and presumably the testimony of the witnesses will not change. The only thing that could change would be that either the prosecutor or defense present a more compelling argument to convince twelve people on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Tensing. I submit that is not likely to happen.
Our justice system is designed to protect the rights of all individuals, both the victim of a crime and the accused perpetrator of a crime. The system is working as designed. 24 people have not been able to decide the criminality of the actions of Mr. Tensing. At this point it should be over. The prosecutor should accede and end this exercise before it becomes a miscarriage of justice. The City leaders are disappointed at the outcome of the latest trial. It is unclear whether they are disappointed that a verdict was not reached or whether they are disappointed that a verdict of guilty was not reached. But it needs to be pointed out that the city leaders, specifically Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black, and fired Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell tainted the jury pool with comments they made at the onset of the investigation of the incident.
It is my opinion that the concern of the city leaders is based on a fear of the reaction of the public if Mr. Tensing is not tried again. In that certain segments of our society tend to express their displeasure by rioting, looting, and burning, they leaders a hoping to avert such an action. However, a third trial would merely be a crap shoot. Should a verdict of not guilty be returned I think the same protests would occur. In other words, the only acceptable outcome to some would be a guilty verdict. But let us not forget, Mr. Tensing is innocent until proven guilty.
So, I repeat, enough is enough!
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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