(NOTE: The letter is transcribed as written)
May 9, 1991
Honorable Janet Reno
1351 NW 12 street
Miami, Florida 33125
Dear State Attorney Reno,
We, being the jurors of the Bobby Finje case, are writing this letter in an attempt to clarify and explain our verdict. In order to understand the reasoning of our verdict one must appreciate the enormous stress and pressure we experienced from being placed in such a position. Listening and absorbing the hundreds of hours of testimony over the fifteen extensive weeks of this trial, only magnified this stressful and pressure built situation.
One must understand that is was not our desire nor our wish to be jurors in this trial. However, as concerned citizens we acted accordingly by our acceptance of this duty. A duty that, regardless of what verdict we rendered, would be without appreciation and from which extensive criticism would result.
His Honor's instructions as we began to deliberate, clearly stated that we are to presumed the defendant's innocence up to and until the State has proved otherwise beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. It was our keeping with these instructions that led us to our verdict.
A number of factors that were raised throughout this trial provided the defense with a window of opportunity through which they passed a measurable cloud of reasonable doubt. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the failure of the police to video tape the questioning of the defendant on the day he was arrested. The failure to have a stenographer record and have the defendant sign a written confession. The clearly leading and suggestive questioning on the part of both child psychologist while interviewing the two children involved. The rape treatment center's handling of the two children and having those findings disputed by a defense expert.
Furthermore, the contradictory testimony on the part of the children themselves also raised reasonable doubt. There was a high degree of improbability of certain allegations raised against the defendant. For instance, alleging that he drove a child to the American Foreign Legion Hall, when no representative of that facility saw the defendant on the premises. And the fact that no adult ever saw the defendant drive a car, a task that he claims he has yet to attempt.
Other allegations have the defendant taking children were their were witches and in which he dressed as a clown. Again, no one ever saw anyone dressed as a witch nor the defendant as a clown. Further allegations of have a baby being killed and a cat's neck being broken were unfounded.
It is important to note that though we believed something did happen to the two children in question, what and by whom was not certain beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. And since, as stated earlier, our task was not to prove the defendant's innocence but rather his guilt beyond such a doubt, we had no choice, in following the instructions of his Honor, but to return with a verdict of not guilty.
Furthermore, we subscribed to the notion that there may have been more to this case than we were allowed to see and here. However, no other charges, to our knowledge and at the time of our deliberations, had been filed. As such, our verdict could not be based upon our suspicions but solely upon the facts in evidence as we were allowed to review. However, we encourage the State's Attorney's Office to pursue with an appropriate investigation and file additional charges as deemed appropriate.
We further would like to express our sincere empathy towards the parents of the two children involved in this case. As being understandably disappointed with the verdict, we can only hope that if they are to blame anyone they blame the faulty system currently in place in the handling of such cases and not with we the jury.
It is our hope that this case will lay the foundation upon which a set of policies and guidelines are built. So that when cases of abuse, especially child abuse, are alleged, the programs in place will allow for appropriate questioning and investigation by the police, physicians and child psychologist so as to drastically reduce the chances of conflicting testimony and charges of contamination that can and will raise reasonable doubt.
We understand that a portion of the general public view our verdict as wrong. Understand that we were not privies to all information concerning this case. Furthermore, the general public received its' information from the press in the form of a one minute opinionated nightly news segment. We, on the other hand, based our verdict on the law, and after listening to and reviewing the hours upon hours of testimony on a daily basis for almost four months. Consequently, our verdict stands.
We The Jurors
State of Florida vs. Bobby Finje