Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Real Casey Anthony Verdict

Casey Anthony may have escaped the death penalty and life in prison, but she no doubt will receive a sentence perhaps even worse: life of scorn. There aren't many people in America who believe Anthony isn't responsible for the brutal death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She simply benefited by the greatest legal system in the world. She may have gotten away with murder in a court of law, but she won't escape the court of public opinion.

Anthony is the new O.J. Simpson. She's the demonic object of our hatred and our frustration with our criminal justice system. It seems that at least once every decade we stand stunned, outraged and nauseated as the verdict is read in an audience-gripping, sensational murder trial as the killer walks free. But that's where the similarities end. In the 1995 O.J. trial, the prosecution not only had bodies--O.J's ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman--but clear evidence that they were murdered. There was also motive: O.J.'s tumultuous, violence-marred relationship with Nicole. And there was DNA evidence. Blood everywhere. O.J's, hers, Goldman's. At her place, his house, his car, and on a glove found at his residence. But that wasn't enough. The jury in this case could've had actual videotape of Simpson committing the murders and they likely would have acquitted him still.

In the Anthony case the prosecution had nothing. Nothing but reams of circumstantial evidence. Sure, if you stepped away from it all and looked at it in its totality with a rational, intelligent, common sense perspective, she's as guilty as sin. What loving mother fails to report her toddler missing for 31 days, then lies about it, creates imaginary people whom she blames the death on and, in the process, gets a "Bella Vita" ("Beautiful Life") tattoo and is out partying? We have every reason to believe she killed Caylee and we have every reason to hate her. But unfortunately, the prosecution did not have a motive, witnesses or a cause of death, and you can't convict someone of murder if you can't prove a murder took place. The burden of proof rested solely on the prosecution, and it simply could not prove Anthony's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No matter how upsetting and painful, no matter how infuriating and sickening the verdict, the system worked. In America, we don't send people to jail because we don't like them or because we're emotional and angry.

But time will not be kind to Casey Anthony. Like O.J. Simpson, she'll face constant animosity, ostracizing and public ridicule. She'll find everyday tasks like grocery shopping filled with vitriol. She'll find it hard to get a job. She'll probably never have a normal, healthy relationship. Perhaps she'll sell a book and do some interviews and make a few bucks, but she'll spend it just as quickly and probably end up destitute. She'll party hard and crash harder. And just like her partner in criminal history, Casey may ultimately end up in jail for some other heinous, despicable act. To be sure, Casey Anthony is not someone who's going to contribute to society in any meaningful way.


Anonymous said...

3 Points

1) Nancy Grace did more harm to the trial than good. She should not be allowed to go on and on about a trial while the trial is still going on.

2) It didn't help that the prosecuter was laughing for all to see at inappropriate times. He acted like the verdict was a done deal.

3) The jury had to work with the facts they were given in court. They could not just vote their opinion, what Nancy Grace said or even what common sense told them.

So what does it mean? The system worked even if we didn't like the result. Sometimes a person gets away with the crime, but it is better to have the system work than for mobs calling for the result they would like.
Like was stated above, Casey Anthony will not really be free.

Anonymous said...

I think a few things brought about this verdict, but perhaps one of the least reported aspect of it is the notion of over-indictment. History shows when you over-indict, you have over-acquittal. When prosecutors are viewed as having blood on their lips, juries tend to step back and be far more skeptical and defendants benefit.

I have yet to meet a person who honestly believes that Anthony formed the conscious thought that "I will kill my daughter" and then carried it out. Most people believe that she acted in an outrageously irresponsible, reckless and/or negligent manner.

Now that can get you to murder one if you truly believe that the conduct that you are aware of adds up to aggravated child abuse. Aggravated child abuse is a dangerous felony and that kind of felony, if it leads to death, can support a murder one conviction under the felony-murder rule.

But was is aggravated child abuse? To me - the first image that pops up into my head is Joel Steinberg, his little girl Lisa and his battered wife Hedda Nussbaum. When I say that in conversations with people about what they think is aggravated child abuse, I tend to get an Aha! Yes! response.

Aggravated child abuse tends to be viewed as a consistent pattern of malicious and vicious intentional acts - denying nutrition, hydration and medical care over an extended period to the point of starvation or nearly so, cigaret burns, multiple broken bones that have healed over time without medical care, baths in scalding water - all the disgusting and evil things that people do to helpless dependent children.

No one I've spoken to see's Casey Anthony as that kind of a person guilty of those kinds of acts.

Most people seem to believe that she did some shockingly stupid and recklessly dangerous things that caused Caylee's death. Whether it's too much chloroform or tape or confinement in a poorly ventilated place or a combination of the three, no one seems to know but people seem to think it was one or all of those things.

There is a tipping point between unintentional conduct that is just negligent and criminally negligent and another tipping poing between criminal negligence and aggravated criminal negligence.

Personally, I see the tipping point in this case to be ther first - between negligence and criminal negligence. Criminal negligence gets you to a manslaughter conviction.

The jurors seemed to say that they felt compelled to acquit because they didn't know exactly WHAT conduct led to Caylee's death, and if you don't know what the conduct is, you don't know how to score it.

Personally, I know this much - whatever she did, Casey Anthony had a hand in her daughter's death and she engaged in volitional conduct that amounted to at a minimum of negligence beyond your normal level of negiligence. I don't need to know the exact acts that amount to it, because beyond a reasonable doubt, I believe she is culpable. And since the jury was on board with the fact that they lacked the knowledge of specific acts due in large part to the lies they convicted her of which delayed finding the body, I don't find it difficult to satsify myself in convicting her of manslaughter.

So, I don't think the prosecution had nothing. I think they had enough to get people to manslaughter and I think that they really did Caylee and society in general a disservice in tapping their toes saying "show me more". The act of the defendant herself limited their ability to do that - it should have been enough that no other rational conclusion other than outrageous recklessness and/or neglect could be drawn.

granma mildred said...

circumstancial evidence is still evidence -
No parent losing sight of their child would wait even 3l minutes before calling the police & beginning a search - much less 3l days - partying, tattooing, having a hell of a good time - tipping point is you dont search for someone when you know its futile because you know they are dead - & you or you know who did it.
Beautiful little Kayli was the victim of a promiscious cold blooded sociopath mother with no concience and denied justice. Casey Anthony truly had a jury of her peers - morons - who were confused because it was a dealth penalty case - they still could have voted guilty but no death penalty - life without parole.
Sad, sad, sad!!!

teknikAL said...

I would rather "stand stunned, outraged and nauseated as the verdict is read in an audience-gripping, sensational murder trial as the" (alleged) "killer walks free", then feel "outraged and nauseated" by the lives destroyed by the all too frequent innocent mistakenly convicted, especially on death row. This is the system our forefathers set up: rather let a guilty person go free with the benefit of the doubt than convict even one innocent. As you know, if this person truly is the criminal as the prosecution claims, she will not evade the system and eventually be caught committing an other crime.
The system has worked.

teknikAL said...

Mr. Anonomous has it correct.. they could have had a conviction on manslaughter but for the over reaching charges by the prosecutors. This is all to common in the legal system these days, but juries usually go along with it... jails are full of over prosecuted cases.