Van Dyke Trial: When a jury “has to” convict

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gabriel conroy

Gabriel Conroy [pseudonym] is an ex-graduate student. He is happily married with no children and has about a million nieces and nephews. The views expressed by Gabriel are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of his spouse or employer.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

    Given not only Van Dyke’s actions, but the subsequent and ongoing attempt to cover up what he had done, an effort that included repeatedly destroying evidence, sustained public outrage would not only be justified but necessary. And all of the folks who would excuse what Van Dyke did would be doing so only because of explicit racial animus. There is no other explanation for how anybody could look at the mountain of available evidence and conclude, “This was an okay thing to have happened.”Report

      • To elaborate, yes, I believed he was/is guilty. I wanted the jury to convict for that reason. But I also wanted it to convict for what I think are bad, or at least morally ambiguous reasons. Given that I haven’t paid nearly as much attention to this case as I would need to in order to convict someone, I’ll state it’s irresponsible for me to hope for a conviction.

        That doesn’t mean the conviction was wrong. It means I was hoping someone would be convicted regardless of whether it was right or wrong.Report

        • I guess I need to elaborate on one more point. I do differ see it differently from the way Sam does on the following:

          And all of the folks who would excuse what Van Dyke did would be doing so only because of explicit racial animus.

          I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think it’s presumptively true, but not necessarily true. We all have way of arriving at conclusions contrary to what others believe is the only reasonable conclusion to draw. And while I believe that some motivations, like racial animus, are the kind that creep up on us, or lurk in the background without our fully knowing or acknowledging it (when such reluctance to acknowledge is in itself part of the animus), I don’t think it’s a slam dunk case for the claim that excusing Mr. Van Dyke’s actions is indisputably a result of racial animus.

          But it is presumptively so. The burden, I believe, is on the excuser to demonstrate they’re not doing it out of racial animus.

          And as I tried to argue in my post, one can hope for a conviction from assumptions that, at base, also reflect a certain racial animus.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Personally, I think the guy is guilty. My expectation, however, is at best a hung jury and a DA who declines to refile.

    I have lost faith that DAs who file charges against cops actually want that conviction. I believe that they are ‘careless’ during jury selection, and do not try to craft a good ‘story’ for the jury to hear to let them convict the officer. In short, I don’t think they are ‘in it to win it’ when it comes to convicting cops.Report

  3. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Guility of second degree and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm- meaning they met all the elements of first degree, plus a mitigating factor. I wonder what the mitigating factor was for them. It could have been the knife, the tense situation, who knows. This was not a bad verdict, though I think a first degree would not have been inappropriate.

    Not guilty of official misconduct…. that’s a head scratcher.Report

  4. Avatar InMD says:

    I’m curious to see what happens to the charged co-conspirators. If the state can convict them it would send an even bigger message about accountability.Report

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