Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Why do some people refuse to see the evidence when it exonerates a person who they feel victimized them or someone they care for?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21480 points ) October 4th, 2011

In the wake of the Amanda Knox acquittal and the Casey Anthony trial, a lot of people scrutinize the evidence. The family of the slain young lady, in the Knox case, believe the prosecution had it right the 1st time. They do not want to believe the evidence is flawed, or could let Amanda off the hook.

There have been other cases here state side, where people have been set free by help of the Innocence Project. When the DNA proves, or made it highly improbable they killed the person, or raped the woman that earned them a conviction. When the victim was asked by reporters, what they thought, they didn’t care if none of the accused DNA was on them, in the room or inside them, they staunchly believe that man did it, in spite of what the evidence said.
Why do some flat out reject the evidence when it is overwhelmingly in the favor of the defendant? They can’t let go of their vengeance, they told themselves that was the person so long they can’t think any other way, something else?

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think there are a lot of reasons. Imagine the guilt of having helped put someone innocent in jail if you helped identify the person as the culprit. It also might mean trusting DNA over their own memory, a memory deeply etched in their brain. Plus, accepting the person is innocent means the guilty person was never caught, is still out there, and was never brought to justice.

lillycoyote's avatar

People want someone to be held responsible for what happened to the person they loved. The prosecution may have put an incredible amount of time and effort into possibly prosecuting the wrong person. I don’t think any victim, any grieving family member or anyone who believes in the justice system can easily surrender to the notion that the system could be so flawed, that so much effort could be put in for nothing, that if the suspect who has been thought to be guilty for so long is innocent, then the guilty person is still running around free and that an innocent person could have been prosecuted and imprisoned. I think that is a lot to process and to accept for victims, victims loved ones and ordinary citizens.

Soupy's avatar

I suppose people just want justice. If someone has hurt you, or someone you love, it’s difficult to know that they are out there somewhere, anonymous. When people are told that the police have found the person who did it, they latch onto that knowledge. If the person is exonerated, sometimes it’s easier to keep believing that they were guilty than to acknowledge that the perpetrator is out there.

Of course, I’m no psychologist. This is just my best guess.

ragingloli's avatar

Those people probably just want revenge, and that emotion blinds them to reason, so they do not care who the target of their vengeance is.

Jellie's avatar

Closure. People want someone behind bars, someone punished or someone held responsible for the death of a loved one. It’s pure and simple need for closure.

thorninmud's avatar

This is related to a whole host of known human cognitive biases, such as:

The Semmelweis Reflex- “the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.”

The “Backfire” Effect- “Evidence disconfirming our beliefs only strengthens them”

Irrational Escalation- “the phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the decision was probably wrong”

(definitions stolen from Wikipedia)

Plus, it’s really not easy to stop hating a person.

wundayatta's avatar

Emotion and intuition are stronger than intellect in humankind. We have been operating on intuition for the hundreds of thousands of years we have been in existence. It is only in the last few thousand years that we have developed science. Only since Socrates and Plato and their predecessors in Africa and China and other places that we have been learning a different way to prove something is worth being called knowledge.

It is no wonder that people think with their feelings. We have not evolved that much. Their emotions tell them the “truth.” Everyone gets invested in a truth and no one wants to back off it, even in the face of scientific evidence. Such evidence is hard and cold. Fiery emotions are completely different and much more understandable. Thus, people don’t want to give up what they wish were true.

marinelife's avatar

They were subject to the British press which vilified Amanda Knox pretty convincingly.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

She was said to have viciously murdered a British citizen in the commission of a sex crime. The British press were certainly not about to give her no quarter.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Because everyone loves a good lynching and they don’t really care if the person is wrong or right as long as they get to watch, and it doesn’t hurt or effect them.

*It’s mean, but it’s true to a certain extent: A hundred hungry lions, gladiators, witch trials, slavery, Concentration camps, and one French Guillotine can’t be wrong.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s man woman or child. *The last person to be killed by guillotine was an abortionist, a catholic a parent of two children, and a woman.

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