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Jury in Perrish Cox trial sent home for the night

Perrish Cox

Former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox rest his head in his hands as he waits in the courthouse cafeteria in Castle Rock, Colo., on Thursday, March 1, 2012, as a jury deliberated in his sexual assault trial. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


On Thursday afternoon, the jury contemplating the fate of former Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox began their deliberations. By the close of business on Thursday, no verdict had been reached.

And so they’ll return on Friday morning to continue their deliberations.

The delay isn’t a good sign for prosecutors. The short, simple two-days-and-change trial entailed a fairly narrow set of facts. The alleged victim claims that she was raped after she passed out in Cox’s apartment. Cox denied having sex with her in an interview with police. She ended up being pregnant, and the DNA of the fetus matched Cox, who opted not to tell his side of the story at trial.

A certain high-profile trial from 16-plus years ago showed that even conclusive DNA evidence can be rejected. And the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimity among the jurors means that only one holdout can block a conviction.

Even though those protections may entail someone who is factually guilty being acquitted, those protections protect us all against a wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Though it’s hard to sell that to the victims of a crime and members of the public who want to see justice done, it’s one of the most fundamental aspects of our entire system of government.

So whether it’s O.J. Simpson in 1995 or Casey Anthony in 2011 or Perrish Cox in 2012, the acquittal of someone who by all appearances seems to be guilty as sin should, at some level, be embraced as proof that our freedoms extend to not having our freedom taken away absent compelling proof.