Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Jurors Got It Right

I’m upset about the lashing the Casey Anthony jurors are getting in the media. As seems to be typical of our society these days, anyone who reaches a different conclusion than what has been pounded down our throats by the likes of Nancy Grace must be stupid, uneducated, conspiring for money, or unable to understand the evidence. Somehow I suspect if the jury had come back with a guilty verdict after eleven hours, everyone would be complimenting them and celebrating, rather than jumping to the conclusion that a conspiracy occurred behind closed doors.

This is the same media who declared Casey Anthony guilty three years ago and has vilified her ever since. Unfortunately, in this country people aren’t tried by the media. Nancy Grace has now moved on to criticizing the jurors and discussing their DUIs and lack of a high school diploma. You’d think as a former prosecutor she would know better. Twelve people arrived at this conclusion, not two or three. This case has always made me feel uncomfortable, with the open discovery laws in Florida, and the media pouring over every document, deposition, e-mail, phone call, and photograph. It didn’t seem right that so many people should be privy to so many details prior to a public trial. Ironically, because of the wall to wall coverage of the case, Casey Anthony will likely be able to make some money on book deals and interviews once the dust settles. If the media hadn’t put so much focus on this case, that would have never happened, and she wouldn’t be in this position. They only have themselves to blame.

To Nancy Grace I say this: I have well beyond a high school diploma and no DUIs, and I think the jurors got it right, based on the evidence that was presented and the charges that were brought. The comparisons to the O.J. Simpson case are apt – the prosecution didn’t prove their case there either. Here, they overreached on the charges and hoped emotion and the horror of a child dying would carry the day. The State’s case was weak, and its attorneys were smug. Smugness and laughter at the other side never wins over a jury.

While circumstantial evidence and inferences are allowed, at the end of the day to arrive at a guilty verdict on the substantial charges required too much speculation. Too many dots had to be connected with no evidence in support other than that Casey Anthony partied in the days after her daughter’s disappearance. The State should have to show more than that to put someone in prison for life. What hurt the State’s case the most is that they did not know the cause of Caylee’s death and there was very little evidence pointing to Casey murdering Caylee (as opposed to someone else, say George, Cindy, or Lee). Iffy chloroform, iffy duct tape, iffy stain in a trunk, iffy Internet searches, and bad behavior. It’s a leap to go from an Internet search on chloroform to murdering your two year old child. And if a jury isn’t sure that a murder occurred (as opposed to an accident of some kind), there’s no way they can conclude that Casey caused the murder. The charges were simply too much for what was proved at trial. In the end, they had nothing tying Casey to Caylee’s death, and the circumstantial evidence simply didn’t add up to enough.

The cries that justice has not been served seem to stem from the idea that someone should be punished for Caylee’s death, and through process of elimination, that person should be Casey. After all, she is the only one the media has focused on for the past three years. But what if it was an accident? That idea has always gnawed at me in this case. Just because she reacted in a way people view as inappropriate does not mean she intentionally (or otherwise) murdered her daughter. In fact, the testimony about her mothering skills seemed to indicate that she was nothing but loving toward Caylee.

I don’t fault the jurors. They sat there for six weeks and heard the evidence, and were sheltered from the shrilling media screaming “off with her head!” I don’t fault them for quickly arriving at a verdict. For all we know, they took one vote and everyone felt that Casey was not guilty. That doesn’t mean they are stupid, didn’t pay attention, or didn’t understand the evidence. The fact is, the case was weak, yet very few people want to acknowledge that.

I do believe that Casey knows exactly what happened to Caylee, but don’t blame the jurors. Blame the prosecution – they didn’t do their job.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. Towards the end I was starting to lean towards an acquittal. If I was doubting 1st degree murder, the jury had to be as well. No smoking gun. No cause of death. I truly think she accidentally killed her kid with too much chloroform and freaked out.
    I think she's a horrible selfish person but that doesn't deserve the death penalty when the prosecution can't prove a thing. Sigh.

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