If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.
That 19-year-old mantra from the late Johnnie Cochran perfectly captures the spirit of the American criminal justice system, which skews toward letting the guilty go free over imprisoning the innocent, via a ridiculously high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
That principle made Wednesday’s acquittal of three men charged with stabbing Steelers tackle Mike Adams a no brainer. And that’s indeed what happened.
Two vastly different versions emerged at trial, with Adam claiming the men stabbed him in a carjacking attempt and the defense claiming Adams was drunk and loud and started a fight. With Adams’ blood-alcohol content measured at 0.185 percent, it becomes difficult if not impossible for a jury to buy his story strongly enough to overcome the very high reasonable doubt standard.
One of the men was convicted of escape and another was convicted of flight to avoid apprehension. None were found guilty of the far more serious crimes of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
The defense argued that Adams lied about the incident to stay out of trouble with the team. It’ll be interesting to see whether the ultimate outcome creates any issues for him with the Steelers. He’s entering the third year of a four-year contract signed in 2012.