Friday, December 26, 2003

Dean: Bin Laden guilt best determined by jury

CNN

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found,' Dean said in the interview. 'I will have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials.'

Dean added he is certain most Americans agree with that sentiment.

Later, Dean released a statement clarifying, 'I share the outrage of all Americans. Osama bin Laden has admitted that he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well as scores of men, women and children around the world. This is the exactly the kind of case that the death penalty is meant for. '"

This is all very weird. Dean seems to be invoking some kind of technical sense of guilt, in which you can be outraged about someone's crimes, and certain of what they've done, but not consider them "guilty" of a crime until a jury says so. I'm following him so far.

Yet, a person of executive power can, apparently, claim Bin Laden is "the kind of case that the death penalty is meant for," (thus assuming he's already been pronounced guilty) without second-guessing the jury system, or "pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found." He's lost me. Then again, Dean never had me, really.

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