“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
I’m presently going through the jury selection process, called “voir dire,” which is Latin for “to speak the truth.” In voir dire, the judge and attorneys for both sides ask potential jurors questions to determine if they are competent and suitable to serve in the case.
I only know that because My Cousin Vinny is one of my favorite movies.
During the selection, you are asked if you believe in the judicial system. I’m encouraged by the attention paid to this process especially when compared to North Korea sentencing of American student Otto Frederick Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor after accusing him of removing a political banner from a hotel.
I understand justice is not always served, even for promising athletes like Brian Banks. As you read his story, if not for this unjust situation, he may have been playing for the NFL.
But the reason the Stanford case has me concerned is I don’t understand the sentencing. I get that it’s not my job as a juror; a juror’s job is to listen to evidence, the law, and render a verdict with the burden of proof on the prosecution.
For the sentencing, Your Honor, I assume there are rules, guidelines, guardrails, call them what you like, but there has to be a way to show your work.
Like millions, I read the letters; from the victim, from the father of the guilty party, from Vice President Joe Biden. I’m heartbroken for the victim and her family and know that the sentence doesn’t change what happened.
There’s no way I would know the appropriate sentence, but I can’t fathom how six months is right. That is my question. Could you please show your work so we could all understand.
Without understanding, we just take sides.
With understanding, we can build bridges rather than walls.
And then maybe we won’t react to sound bites, and fill our need to place blame.
Feasibly we can pay more attention to changing things that will make a lasting difference, rather than participating in momentary outrage.
Conceivably there might be one less American tragedy as happened today with the Orlando shooting.
But we allow ourselves to be easily distracted as we always do.
It begins and ends with understanding. I’m listening, so please show your work.
Tina Nocera, Founder