As Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, points out in his commentary on the Jackson verdict in National Review Online: "The law says a person cannot be convicted because of his propensity to do evil." McCarthy notes that the law does allow evidence of past, uncharged crimes to be admitted at the trial as evidence of motive, opportunity or other factors that bear on the case being tried. In the Jackson trial, some of the witnesses who testified about other alleged instances of abuse by Jackson actually may have weakened the case -- not because the jury didn't believe them, but because their testimony made the case involving this alleged victim look even less compelling.
The verdict won't help Michael Jackson regain his deservedly sullied reputation or boost his career, but he will remain free. Unfortunately, that may mean he can continue to prey on children -- with their greedy parents' consent. Maybe the next prosecution ought to be against any parent who lets his or her child within 100 yards of this man.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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