July 5, 2011

Shock and Awe and Casey Anthony.

I had planned to write a post about Roger Clemens’ upcoming trial.  I had started with, “Well, now that we are about to receive a verdict in the Casey Anthony case, I need some other legal drama to entertain me in the upcoming months.” And then the verdict came back and my original post was blown to hell.  If you haven’t already heard, Casey Anthony was just acquitted of all charges except for providing false information to the police.

I am in such a state of shock that my brain feels like it is going to explode.  I imagine that Nancy Grace’s already has.  I won’t analyze the case here; if I did, we would be playing Monday Morning Quarterback for the next three weeks. I have purposely not used Chicks Dig the Fastball as any sort of legal platform, because really, that is not the purpose of my blog.  It is for sports and snark, as the header says, and yes, sometimes serious matters connected to sports.  I still plan to write about Roger.  But for now, the only thing that I can possibly write about is Casey Anthony.  So please indulge me for a few minutes. 

I have followed the case since July 2008; I fully expected her to be found guilty of manslaughter, if not first-degree murder.  I thought the prosecution did an excellent job with the evidence that it had, while I thought the defense was painfully amateurish.  They blamed everyone else but their client and hoped that something would stick.  I thought that the trial ended with the defense’s opening statement – wherein they admitted Caylee died accidentally, that George Anthony covered it up, and that Casey knew about it but lied because of sexual abuse.  I did not think that the defense could ever get over that opening, because they did not offer any evidence to support it during trial.  Rather than simply poke holes in the prosecution’s case and introduce reasonable doubt, the defense provided us with an apparently concrete explanation of death – and then never lived up to their own theories.  I did not think the jury would forget it. 

I also expected the jury to dwell on the fact that Casey did not testify.  Of course, it is her right as a defendant not to testify.  But testifying was the only way for the defense to offer evidence of the sexual abuse and drowning theory.  And if she really was just a grieving mother whose child was kidnapped, there is no plausible excuse as to why she wouldn’t want to testify in her own defense.  Yes, she lied and the prosecution would have torn her apart.  But we knew she lied.  She already admitted it to us and justified it by saying that she was abused for years.  God knows that if my child was missing, I would be screaming it from the rooftops.  If I was accused of something that I didn’t do, especially if my life was on the line, I would talk to anyone who would listen in order to prove my innocence.  But all Casey did for the past three years is lie.  To everyone.  To the police, her parents, her boyfriend, and her friends.  She lied so profusely that her own attorneys requested an emergency competency hearing in the middle of the trial, because she was also lying to them.  And now she is going to walk.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disgusted.  

Listen, I get that there is no direct evidence linking Casey Anthony to her daughter’s death. People keep peppering me with the argument, “well, this is the American justice system, we don’t convict people without hard evidence, the prosecution must prove its case.”  And, of course, that is true – the prosecution has the burden of proof.  I understand why first-degree murder was a stretch, and I never thought she would receive the death penalty.  But there was enough circumstantial evidence to tie her to the crime and eliminate any other possible suspect.  I think that we now live in a CSI-dominated world, wherein juries think we require DNA testing and a smoking gun to convict someone.  That is simply not true.  Casey Anthony should not be rewarded if, for example, she hid the body in a swamp and it decomposed so badly that no tests could be completed. What if Caylee’s body, before animals got to her remains, was pumped full of chloroform?  That is why circumstantial evidence is vital.  It fills in blanks when there are no other options.  It is obviously not as strong as direct evidence, and should be weighed accordingly, but it cannot simply be ignored.  And I think so much, too much was ignored in this case.  Like basic common sense.  The bigger picture – the fact that this toddler went missing and her mother didn’t report it for 31 days while she partied and banged her boyfriend, that the mother made up a nanny who doesn’t exist, that someone searched for chloroform and neck-breaking, that her remains were found a few blocks from the house, that the mother’s car smelled like a dead body – got lost in the contentious circus that was the Casey Anthony trial.  And I think the jury created unreasonable doubt, imaginary doubt, that runs counter to the evidence actually presented. 

According to her own attorneys, Casey knew Caylee drowned and then helped cover it up.  So how could this not be manslaughter? Especially when the defense admitted that the child died accidentally? They basically put manslaughter on the table from the start.  How could Casey have not been considered negligent or, in part, responsible for Caylee’s death?  What kind of mother gets a tattoo that says “beautiful life,” if her child is missing?  And what mother would think life is beautiful if her child was missing? Most importantly, what happened to that poor little girl? Until Casey Anthony writes her version of “If I Did It” – and trust me, I have a feeling she is going to milk her new infamy for everything it's worth – we may never know.  

And that is why I am in such shock.  I had hoped for answers or closure. And I had hoped for justice. I do not think it was served here.  If convicted of murder, I wondered if Casey would admit wrongdoing or demonstrate remorse during sentencing to spare her own life. I am now left with more questions than when it all began.  And looking at this post, which I had originally intended to be about one quick paragraph, I am cognizant of the fact that I have not yet fully processed what just happened. All I know is that I am extremely disappointed with the verdict; Caylee Anthony deserved better than this. 

2 comments:

  1. I could not agree more! This is horrible. I am truly, utterly, disgusted. I absolutely cannot fathom how this jury found her not guilty. My question is now, where will she go live!? With the father that she is soooo devastated with, because he abused her!? She couldn't possibly wan't to live there, could she!?....what a joke! I just don't get it! But then from what I am seeing and hearing, I am definately not alone.

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  2. Armchair layman quarterback here - Prosecution should have gone for negligent homicide and every related charge they could have attached to it - there had to have been a ton. Gone after the father as well. Somewhere in there she'd have been forced to testify or at the very least she'd have spoken during her sentencing.

    My guess is something very bad happens to her soon. Too many enraged people out there, and some of them are crazy. That won't be justice, unfortunately, just more crime.

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