I'm not a proponent of blind justice; I believe circumstances matter. I believe that the state of mind and the experiences of the accused have a bearing on how to view the crime and sometimes even on guilt.
I mean, I'm bipolar, I do strange things all the time.
Given this, I feel I should welcome the highly empathic nature of US trials, but I don't. I find it sickening.
One of the things I find especially disturbing is the importance assigned to the demeanor of the accused during the trial.
Tsarnaev was described as arrogant and disinterested on NPR this morning, and apparently he finally he displayed some discomfort by crossing his arms. The first was considered a sign of his guilt and the second an awareness that his crime is catching up with him.
Just the read of Tsarnaev's behavior is suspect. Consider the way we assign human behavior and feelings to our pets, and how often in everyday life we misinterpret people's body language and facial expressions. We readily acknowledge that swagger and disinterest can hide insecurity and fear, in fact, the pursuit of love banks on this.