Guilt before innocence

I've been wanting to post for a few days on the Scott Peterson trial going on California. No, not to revel in the horrible specticle. But rather, to question why everyone assumes this man is guilty. The way this story has gotten reported on, I'll admit I fell into that trap, too. He had to be guilty, after all. Everyone said so. So it came as quite a shock when I saw reports about the trial discussing how tough it was for the Prosecution.

Really? Because I hadn't heard anything about that before.

So I looked into it, and I was shocked at just how weak a case there is against Scott Peterson. It rests entirely on the assumpsion that he acted kind guilty afterwards. It'd be an insult to even call this a circumstantial case! Yet this trial is going to last 6 months? I realize that the less direct evidence you have, the longer a case will run, but just what is the evidence? Suspicious coincidences are not enough to convict someone. The concern is, are they enough to inflame a jury when a defendant can't completely prove their innocence. After all, Scott Peterson may have killed his wife. I certainly see reason to suspect him, but I'm kinda stunned the case has gotten this far and that the media coverage has been so one-sided.

I can't even get past the motive. Supposedly, Scott wanted to carry on an affair so he killed his wife. Except, Scott's a bit of a dick and he's had affairs before. And this time its with a woman who already has a family, so why would he be so eager to kill his wife and unborn child just to be with a woman who has a kid already and who he has only known for a month. It doesn't make sense.

What's more, the police have been lying about their case. They had long claimed that Peterson lied about a tv show that his wife was watching when he left her, insisting the show he described aired a day earlier. I read this claim myself just a couple days ago. Turns out, its completely untrue. The show was on exactly when Peterson said it was on. They've lied at other times, too, to try to turn Laci's family against him.

It all really upsets me because an uncle of mine was sent to prison in a high-profile case because the police, prosecutors, and judge all railroaded him. I've seen these abuses up close. I was maybe 5 when he was put on trial and it'd be a few years before his conviction got overturned and his case subsequently tossed out for lack of evidence. (in brief, a confession from another man was suppressed by the police) He may have been released, but it ruined his life. It doesn't matter if the evidence isn't there or even if someone else confesses. When you get brought up on horrible charges (in my uncle's case it was rape/kidnapping/murder of a young girl), it stays with you. People assume you must be guilty. He got himself killed while driving drunk a couple years latter.

I'm ashamed at myself for jumping to a conclusion about Scott Peterson's guilty, but I'm more ashamed at the Prosecution's haste to bring so weak a case.

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