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Anger at Jury in Durst Acquittal Is Misplaced

November 18, 2003

Re "Cries for Help a Texas Jury Did Not Answer," Commentary, Nov. 14: Nancy Grace's complaint that the Robert Durst acquittal was "a kick in the stomach for those of us who love justice" is written from the perspective of a prosecutor, which she was. I wasn't in the courtroom and can't comment on the merits of the evidence presented, but I respect a jury's verdict more than I respect the point of view of a prosecutor who moans that her belief in our judicial system is "shattered" because of an acquittal. Not that it's a perfect system, as evidenced by the wrongful convictions that have been exposed in recent years through DNA evidence.

George Rooney

Yucaipa

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Grace is convinced that prosecutors can do no wrong. So, when the verdict isn't what she wants, it shatters "the belief that right wins out over wrong," and she blames the jury. This was about winning; surely even Grace is not deluded into thinking our courts are about right and wrong.

But a reasonable layman could have won a conviction with the evidence Grace listed. The guy even admitted doing the crime. And yet, like O.J. Simpson, Durst walked. The jury (the basis of our system of justice) apparently decided the prosecution did not present an adequate case. Look to the prosecutors and their strategy. Don't blame the jury.

Could it be that the prosecution in this case suffered from "Marcia Clark syndrome" and seriously underestimated the ability of the defense lawyers? Would that every defendant were protected by that quality of advocacy.

Richard A. Hein

Fullerton

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