The Jordan Miles case: Telling verdict
The partial verdict reached by the jury in Jordan Miles' racially charged federal civil rights lawsuit against three Pittsburgh policemen is yet another indicator that clear evidence of law-enforcement wrongdoing in this case simply doesn't exist.
The jury of eight unanimously cleared the white officers of one of the black plaintiff's claims, malicious prosecution — a claim stemming from criminal charges against him that were dismissed. The jurors deadlocked on Mr. Miles' two other claims of false arrest and excessive force.
That outcome's especially significant when this civil trial's burden of proof — easier to meet than a criminal trial's — is factored in.
Neither federal prosecutors nor Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. found evidence of police misconduct strong enough to try the officers on criminal charges. And now, even with that easier civil burden of proof, a federal civil jury also has decided that the evidence isn't strong enough to rule against them.
The case thus boils down to one side's word against the other's. Though found wanting again, Miles' side has the right to pursue its remaining claims in a second civil trial, as his lawyers have vowed to do. But this partial verdict already has denied him outright vindication.
That verdict must be respected. So must any verdict on Miles' remaining claims. Accepting the legal system's outcome is the key step toward focusing on positive ways for all concerned to move beyond this regrettable, heated controversy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
- Merging health insurers: Suffering ahead?
- Regional growth
- North Korea’s nukes: Object lesson ignored
- Kittanning Laurels & Lances
- U.N. Watch: Follow China’s lead?
- Jamestown revealed: History comes alive
- The Thursday wrap
- The Brady affair: Contract law