Monday, November 24, 2008

Before Volz do-over, Nashville jury gives unvisaed youth a fair trial, applies the law's "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard to murder charges

Nashvillian Eric Volz announces his Nicaraguan murder re-trial days later, denounces hidden motives

NewsChannel5 reports here that a Nashville jury has unanimously acquitted a young man accused of murder who is in the U.S. without a visa.

Two jurors told NewsChannel5 that they couldn't "add all of [the evidence] up together" under the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, and they therefore could not vote to convict the defendant Jose Murillo Sosa of the tragic and brutal murders of Lori and Adrian Rountree. One of the jurors said that they "don't want a guilty man walking free" but that they also "wouldn't want to see an innocent man spend time in jail."

The fact that the jury could see an unvisaed defendant as potentially innocent at all and apply the same "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard to him as they would to any other defendant is a testament to the American justice system working out the difficult decisions of guilt or innocence with an even hand, at a time when unvisaed immigrants in the U.S. have been the target of a great deal of negativity in recent years.

The acquittal came within days of the news that Nashvillian Eric Volz announced that he is to be retried in Nicaragua for the similiarly brutal and tragic murder of his ex-girlfriend (story here), in a case in which he says the accusations against him are fueled by anti-immigrant (in this case, anti-American-immigrant) sentiment in Nicaragua (story here). Volz was originally convicted of this murder and spent over a year in jail, but his conviction overturned on appeal (story here).

In the recent acquittal, Nashville is providing an example to the world of what it means to have equal justice for all, reinforcing in at least this one case the previously expressed opinion by Davidson County District Attorney General Torry Johnson that even illegal immigrants can get a fair trial in this city.

Hat tip: Political Salsa

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