The Iron Maiden concert wasn’t the only big thing to happen on Friday. The jury for the Jeronimo Yanez case finished their deliberations and, as expected, determined that the officer was innocent. What was also unsurprisingly is that protesters responded by shutting down I-94.
A lot of people have been arguing that the system has failed but I would argue that the system is working as intended. Some people raised questions about the charges being brought against Yanez, mostly noting that other charges could have been brought against him that would have been easier to prove. I’m not familiar enough with the subject of charges to know if there’s any validity to that claim but brining difficult to prove charges against agents of the State isn’t unprecedented. However, we do know that the judge seemed to be extending a little professional courtesy to Yanez by denying the jury’s request to review some of the evidence. Since I wasn’t on the jury I don’t know whether that denial had any bearing on the ruling or not but it’s a fact that will likely haunt this trial for a while.
We know from previous trials that the courts purposely feed jurors erroneous information that benefits the State. For example, jurors are usually instructed that they must rule on the letter of the law, which goes against a jury’s right of nullification. As the Yanez trial demonstrated, judges also hold a great deal of sway over what jurors are allowed to see and not allowed to see. If the jury requests to review evidence, a judge can deny their request.
Jury trials are often thought of as a check on government power but the “justice” system here in the United States is designed in such a way that the State almost always wins. But the State holds a monopoly on writing, interpreting, and deciding the legality of laws. It makes the rules so it should come as no surprise that the rules favor it just as the rules of a Casino favor the house. When the State wins in its courts, even when the case against it is damning, people should realize that the system isn’t broken. In fact it’s working exactly as intended.