Legal Musings: The Anthony Edition

Maybe I should have gone to law school after all.   I called this one three weeks ago.

The nation seems to be in a state of shock over this Casey Anthony verdict; I am relieved that the justice system is working as it was designed to, that a woman was not convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death based on a circumstantial case.

The prosecution did not prove their case.  Period.  They were relying on the emotional upheaval and biased media coverage to ensure a guilty verdict.  Honestly, I am surprised they didn’t get one; however, once you are one of those twelve people holding another human being’s life or death in your hands, perhaps you are more apt to take “beyond a reasonable doubt” seriously.

The Murder 1 charge was just ridiculous, especially given the evidence.  Had they gone with manslaughter, the state might have gotten that conviction.  After all, Ms. Anthony was found guilty on four counts of lying to the police, which means the jury doesn’t trust her, and they probably think she killed her little girl, be it through neglect, abuse, rage, or even cold premeditation.  However, the state’s case was so poor that the jury had no choice but to side with the shady lying kid killer.  I know I wouldn’t want to be responsible for taking someone’s life if there was any possibility the child’s death was an accident.

Of course, I think the death penalty is inhumane- not because I want to protect sociopathic killers, but because it makes those of us who are not killers less human.  So, Ohio, if you call me up for jury duty, don’t put me on a death penalty case, its just a waste of everyone’s time.  (Does Ohio even have the death penalty still?  I think we do…)  I choose to maintain my humanity.

My point is this- the not guilty verdict doesn’t mean that Casey Anthony isn’t guilty.  It means the prosecution didn’t do its job.  Like it or not, the system worked as it was designed.  The justice system is weighted in favor of the defendant.  The burden of proof is on the prosecution.  Its supposed to be that way, to ensure that the innocent don’t end up serving sentences for crimes they did not commit, and as time and DNA evidence have shown, it doesn’t always work.  Innocent people have served life sentences; innocent people have been executed.  So I am relieved when the public opinion, when emotion, when the media coverage does not decide the case.

Besides, there is no such thing as justice when a child dies.  Nothing is fair, the world is not right, comfort is a laughable concept.  Children go missing, are murdered, abused, on a daily basis.  Most of them do not get national media coverage; chances are we don’t even notice them if they happen to be mentioned on our local news channels.  Justice is a figment of our collective imagination.  Caylee Anthony was a beautiful, special child; they are all beautiful, special children.  Be enraged about that.

I know, I know, I save my rare posts for the most random (and apparently controversial) things…


3 thoughts on “Legal Musings: The Anthony Edition

  1. Query

    At what point does circumstantial evidence become direct evidence?

    In the Casey Anthony trial there was no other person of interest brought forward. No other person who had direct contact with the child at the time of her disappearance. No one that Casey Anthony named as the perpetrator of the crime.

    I once considered law school as well. Coming from a family of lawyers, police, and investigators – insurance and homicide – I pondered this case from as many angles as the media provided.

    Deductive reasoning would have said Casey Anthony was the only one who could have committed the crime – whatever happened was within her gestalt, no one elses.

    A terrible price for a small child to pay – her mother’s wanton ways…

  2. Kate- Interesting point. I agree that deductive reasoning does indeed narrow the focus to pretty much only Casey Anthony as the perpetrator of the crime; to be honest, I think the woman is responsible for her child’s death. However, in what capacity? As a cold and calculated premeditated act? A horrible accident? The result of careless neglect? That is where it becomes less clear, and is probably why the jury did not convict on any of the murder and manslaughter charges. The aggravated child abuse charge couldn’t be validated, so they couldn’t convict her on that. From what I understand (and I did not follow the day to day trial closely, so correct me if I am wrong), there was no prior documentation that the child suffered from any abuse. Was the state looking into Ms Anthony prior to Caylee’s disappearance?
    What was most shocking to me in regard to this case was that there were no legal repercussions for failing to report the child missing. Couldn’t the state have filed at minimum a charge of neglect? Several states are now pushing legislation for Caylee’s law as a result, and if I am not mistaken, lawmakers are also working on federal legislation that would make it a felony to fail to report a child missing within 12 hours (I think) and dead within an hour or so.
    As I said before, there is no such thing as justice when a child dies. Even if Ms Anthony had been convicted on all counts, Caylee is still dead, and society is robbed of her potential, she was robbed of a future, and nothing the justice system offers can compensate for that, in Caylee’s case or the case of any of the millions of other children abused and murdered. All the legal system can give are consequences, which are necessary, but it is not justice.

  3. I agree with you. I thought early on that it was probable that Casey was doping Caylee when she went out (esp. given that Cindy was pushing her to keep Caylee more in the few months prior) and she overdosed her by accident. There are plenty of other scenarios that are possible given the evidence. However, your statement that “It means the prosecution didn’t do its job” is really unfair to the police and the prosecution. They did their jobs and put far more effort and heart into them than most people do. It is a simple case of lack of physical evidence, in large part because the child was not reported missing for 31 days and then Casey wasted so much of the police resources by lying so much.

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