Jameis Winston is not guilty. Here are 4 things that does not mean
It really only means one thing: that the Florida State quarterback is not guilty.
Two judicial entities — the State of Florida and a former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court — have now decided there was not sufficient evidence to find Jameis Winston guilty of sexual assault. With Winston’s university code of conduct hearing in the books, this matter is potentially over after a year and a half.
Here is what it means: one cannot fairly conclude that Winston deserves time in jail for what happened that night in December 2012.
But some have used the lack of charges and the lack of guilty verdicts to support what this doesn’t mean. Among them:
- This does not necessarily mean the woman is making up her side of the story. This is what Winston and his lawyer said during the conduct hearing, and the justice presiding over that case wrote that he could not conclude likewise. This woman likely experienced something traumatic in December 2012. A victim’s advocate determined so. This woman, who statistically is not likely to have invented this claim, has put herself through a process that has scarred her life. It’s unlikely she would do that if she didn’t believe in her case.
- This does not mean that the hearing’s third-party justice or the State of Florida conspired to make sure Winston plays. The Tallahassee Police Department messed up, and State Attorney Willie Meggs said their approach to the case was a “bass-ackwards way of doing things.” But that does not mean the State or the school rigged the investigative process or the hearing, as the accuser’s lawyer suggested.
- This does not give anyone license to wish death on the accuser. Just as a “not guilty” verdict does not mean the woman is lying, it does not mean she should have death wished upon her, as she testified has happened.
- This does not mean the woman deserves to be humiliated, as Winston’s lawyer, David Cornwell, has tried to do on numerous occasions, publicly listing her name. Listing an accuser’s name is unacceptable. It discourages others from coming forward.