Tag Archives: Rape

The problem with unsure juries

Sometimes a jury isn’t convinced that a defendant is guilty, but they still kinda, sorta think he might be. Often, they have a way out: the lesser included charge.

Juries are given the option of convicting on lesser charges because, in theory, the prosecution may have convinced them that the defendant did what he was accused of, but was not able to prove all the necessary elements of the more serious charge.

Today, Paul Bell, Jr. was acquitted of rape, but convicted of sexual battery. For this to have happened, essentially the jury needs to have been convinced that the assault happened, but unconvinced that it involved any actual sexual penetration. It’s hard to escape the suspicion, however, that the jury simply didn’t know who to believe, so they split the difference.