Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Justice

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Justice

Article excerpt

Stripped of all the jargon of the legal world, justice exists as a human yearning to be fair. When a child says "That's not fair, mommy," the words get to the essence of a desire we carry throughout adulthood: to see justice - not some awkwardly balanced machinery of Latin phrases and docket numbers - done.

Cutting through all the overwrought attention to the Louise Woodward case, several things seem clear:

* To have let the original, "all or nothing" verdict stand would have been, as Judge Hiller Zobel ruled, "a miscarriage of justice." There was plenty of reasonable doubt that murder had taken place. * Neither the grieving parents of Matthew Eappen, nor frightened Louise Woodward, nor her anxious parents, nor courageous Judge Zobel deserve the cowardly threats some kibitzers have levelled at them. * This was yet another not the trial of the century. The Scopes evolution trial, Nuremberg war crimes trials, Brown v. Board of Education on school desegregation, China's Gang of Four trial - all are candidates for that title. They marked important turning points for human history in the 20th century. O.J. Simpson, the Lindbergh kidnap/murder, the Thaw "red velvet swing" murder, and other sad or lurid dramas may have touched on problems in society, but only marginally. Despite reams of pop-psych analysis, the Woodward au pair case is not some kind of lab study on which to judge the state of child care or dual career family life in America, important as those subjects are. * The jury system has not been dented. It has never been perfect. But it remains better, to paraphrase Churchill, than the alternatives - especially, as in this case, where the law gives a judge the right, the duty, to remedy a potential miscarriage of justice. The reaction of some of the jurors and alternate jurors in the Woodward case, seems to ratify the wisdom of that law. …

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