Making a case is a long process

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
This next week is criminal jury week in Franklin County. Every other month our county asks twelve jurors to answer the question of 'did the defendant do it?'
Usually, the county takes four cases to trial so that justice can be served. Ensuring that the bad guys are caught, and then convicted takes work, and lots of it.
When a crime is committed a report is done. The investigators decide who is responsible and attempt to make a case.
This in itself seems to be a lot of work. Mainly because criminals don't usually decide to come forward on their own. They have to be caught. Investigating crime is not an easy job. Our investigators, all cities and county, are doing a great job and your work is appreciated.
Once a defendant is arrested, the grand jury must indict them. If they do, the defendant is formally charged. The district attorney has to either settle out of court to save taxpayer dollars or take the case to trial. Most of the time, the defendants won't settle and those cases go to the criminal court docket because it is their legal right to have a trial by jury.
In the past several months during criminal jury week, I have heard many attorneys tell me that a jury's verdict cannot be predicted only upheld.
While many feel that it is a waste of time, jury duty is actually a very vital role in our justice system.
The founders of our constitution set up the jury system to ensure that no defendant is wrongly convicted.
Their thinking was that twelve peers could better decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent rather than having an official solely control their fate.
For the most part, their thinking was right because no judge or other official should have to decide alone if the defendant is guilty or not.
During the trial, the district attorney must prove the defendant's guilty within a reasonable doubt. If I were a jury member, I would have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to find someone guilty.
I wouldn't want the weight of doubt keeping me awake at night if the wrong person is sent behind bars.
If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will then have to impose sentencing based on law and statues without further question.
Trials are a very important part of our justice system. It is where the hard work of the police and other investigators pay off or is dismissed, and it's where justice is served or denied.
Regardless of what happens during this week's jury trials, the outcomes will not change the fact that the investigators, the court and the district attorney's office have spent countless hours trying to see that justice is served, and for that they should all be applauded.