L in the Southeast

L in the Southeast
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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
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November 04
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Retired PR Director
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I am a retired Public Relations professional who now writes purely for fun and catharsis. I covered most of my memoir-type pieces in the first three years here. Lately I have dabbled in politics, current affairs, pop culture and movie reviews. Life is my muse.

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JULY 5, 2011 6:12PM

This is Justice?

Rate: 26 Flag

 

Casey at verdict

I’ve only felt like this once before, and it won’t take long for you to guess when that was.  O. J. Simpson’s smirking face at the reading of the verdict in his murder trial should be all the hint you need.

It has been three hours since I watched the clerk of Judge Belvin Perry’s court read the verdicts in the Casey Anthony murder trial, and I am still trying to recover.

I wish I could say I was truly surprised by the fact that this jury of Casey’s so-called peers weren’t able to conclude it was Casey who killed her tiny little daughter three years ago and threw her in a swamp.  When I remove all the emotion that surrounds that visual, I have been aware all along that the prosecution, while doing a stellar job at presenting and arguing their totally circumstantial case, were not able to answer the critical question:  how and where was Caylee killed? 

When I sat listening to the much-maligned (including by me) Jose Baez deliver his impassioned closing argument, far more eloquently than anyone suspected he could, I realized he was driving home the one element of our capital murder trial process that could derail the conviction.  Reasonable doubt.

I was so convinced of Casey’s diabolical nature, I didn’t want to allow my own doubt to break through.  I dismissed the questions that nagged at me when I thought through the evidence: the can of foul air collected with brand new scientific technique; the seeming conflict between chloroform as the murder weapon and duct tape as the murder weapon; the lack of a seamless timeline, even if it was true that Caylee drowned in the family pool.  Maybe I thought those were unreasonable doubts.

However that jury arrived there, they found something about which they could agree was reasonable doubt and let that selfish, immature brat of a woman off, scot free.  She will more than likely be sentenced to time served for the four counts of lying to the police for which she was convicted.  She will more than likely join the rest of us as a citizen free to walk the streets of Orlando (if she dares) with no chance of ever being tried again for the death of that precious child.

I think I agree with Jose Baez, who, during the post-trial press conference, said he believes the reason for the outcome is the ill-advised use of the death penalty in this country.  “Murder is wrong, no matter who commits it,” he said, or something close to it.  I happen to agree with him on that, too.

We will never know for sure, but I keep wondering what the verdict might have been if the words “death penalty” had never been associated with this trial.  Despite all his efforts, the judge was not successful in removing the specter of death from the lesser charges of manslaughter and aggravated child abuse.  I think the jury overreacted to the idea that this young, tiny and obviously troubled woman could be killed for what she had done.

By the way, on the subject of “peers.”  The only jury of Casey Anthony’s true peers would have been made up of sociopaths who were permanently damaged and unable to find a conscience.  I have thought for many years that our jury system is broken and irreparable.

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You followed the case more closely than I did, so I defer to your judgment. I wasn't sure the evidence was strong enough to convict, especially not for the death penalty. But I was surprised that they reached a verdict so quickly and never asked to see any of the evidence or hear any of the testimony re-read.
She would have been let out tonight had her lawyers been ready. But it looks like they were not ready. Could it be that they thought she was guilty too?
HUGGGGGGGGGGGG
I wasn't following this, except through you. Your take on why...the death penalty makes sense. It would be so hard for me to declare someone guilty if by doing that I knew it meant they would be put to death. Any flickering of a doubt would be enough to make me lose sleep for years.
"Reasonable doubt"

Exactly!!!

And yeah, she can get up to 4 years on the lying to the police, but there'll be the time served already....good luck to her in her new life, I guess....
It is strange, I just commented that this reminded me of the child killing OJ trial. I wonder if the glove fit her.
Thanks for your analysis
rated with love
I am relieved to see anyone acquitted in such a case, especially a young defendant. This story has some very unseemly elements to it. I don't find her to be a very sympathetic defendant. But that does not mean guilt. Trials should never be about reciprocity in a case like this, so I don't feel the loss there. But it was disturbing to see the reporters immediately say that this was not like the O.J. verdict. Of course it was. It was a defendant acquitted on points of law in a murder trial. After the O.J. trial, the jury was condemned. That was reprehensible. Some may say, the jury should have been condemned. Then explain how the judge, and most especially the defense attorney Johnny Cochran were also condemned. That was beyond reprehensible. I'm glad this trial is over, and I am glad a defendant was acquitted on points of law. I am disappointed that the press is so willing to state that these verdicts are not similar. Let's see if Baez is trashed like Cochran was. I certainly hope not.
Boy, it's been a tough week for prosecutors. I had assumed guilt since I first heard of this case a few years ago, though I knew very little. She didn't report her daughter missing for 31 days (if you're truly interested in finding your child, how could you let that much time pass), she lied about pretty much everything, the body was found near the home, and she partied like she just didn't care. One thing I heard today that gave me slight pause...witness after witness testified that she was a good, caring mother. How do you go from that to murdering a beautiful little child? It doesn't make sense, but still, I think she had something to do with it.
You wrote, "I have thought for many years that our jury system is broken and irreparable." On the contrary, it works and worked in this case. But, more to your point, WHO should /would render verdicts, under you ideal system? I think she was guilty as hell, but the state FAILED to establish motive, failed to link her DNA or fingerprints, failed to establish a cause of death, or a date of death. The system worked. Several blogs here last week sought to essentially lynch Casey Anthony; I objected at the time. I would not want you and those bloggers on my jury, were I to be brought up on some diabolic charge. The system worked.
I haven't followed the case.
In my court hearing in Chambersburg, PA I had Judge Walker. He was good buddies with seller of Laundromat and slum HUH landlord. The DA would NOT let me have a trial by jury. I couln't find a lawyer to defend me.

The now dead- District Attoney of Franklin County - may have thought?
`
That when I was forced to defend myself`
`
Arthur James v The PA Commonwealth ...
...
I was a deranged farmer n crutches. True?
I was on VA issued crutches with no lawyer.
...
I was a hand puppet 'out-house' privy attorney.
Maybe the judge loved Mike Fisher's solicitor.
One seller used HUH. The GOP solicitor was?
`
Well.
Look up William Crammer? Look up the slum?
Slum HUD lawyer hires Solicitor lawyer pals.
Justice?
Freedom.
Eric Holder?
FBI Sunny?
he apologized.
Sunny (alias).
He said my`
boss is Ag`
`
John Ashcroft.
Lookup the stabbing of the young 'pit bull' Lawyer. Sigh. He was up north of Chambersburg.
Somebody stabbed him.
He died after 30 + stabs.
This is truth. Tell more?
Judge Walker charger `
`
$250.00 for my testimony/
I have the court transcripts\
Maybe I visit the DoJ A.G..
Kim Doan losy heath, home,
and all her washers and dryers.
She still pays interest fees today.
Oh,
and how many congress critters did I go see?
I can tell who I hand carried smelly-briefs to?
I don't belief Capital Hill Has any credibility.
The system is stacked with weakling sell-outs.
Thanks for listening. I may heads to Canada?
I'd rather hear loon, seagull, and duck quack.
It's maybe a good sign that a jury would doubt everything said by the cops and the prosecution. It is not exposed nearly enough how corrupt they often are.
It's bizzarre this verdict- I guess in the end she had some "dream team." This doesn't make sense to me. How to explain away the 31 days? All in all, I find this senseless and disturbing.

I don't think our justice system works for anyone but celebrities and the very rich , or those who get enough publicity to get a team of lawyers-- who know their every move is watched.
Tell me, Lezlie: did Nancy Grace's head explode after the verdict? Because I would have tuned in to see that.
Obviously the Jury should have watched Nancy Grace.
Good articl L, seems beyond a reasonable doubt seemed to be the issue. Rrrrrr
@ Cranky--is it just me or does Nancy Grace have a permanent sour face... as if she just got a whiff of something funky!
Well said! I've been called to jury duty several times, but always dismissed at the last minute. The people who get put on the juries? Those who fall asleep, can't understand the instructions, say conflicting things, etc. You're right about the jury system, at least in this case. What were they THINKING?
To echo what Bill Beck said, a verdict of "not guilty" does not mean "innocent." It means the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. We may disagree about how to define "reasonable doubt," but "I think she did it" is not sufficient for a guilty verdict. If the jury thought she did it, but the prosecution didn't prove its case sufficiently, they did the right thing.

To answer Linda's point: I just finished reading a book about the Central Park jogger case from two decades ago. It was 12 years after they went to prison before they were exonerated by DNA evidence. One of the points the author makes is that their own lawyers didn't believe they were innocent, even though they were. (And I suspect part of the problem is that Anthony's lawyers may not have been expecting a verdict so quickly.)
neilpaul: Sure does. :D

Linda: I don’t think anyone was more surprised by that verdict than her lawyers were.

Mimetalker: I’d have trouble with it, too.

Tink: She’s going to need all the luck she can get.

Poetess: child killing OJ trial?????

Bill: Not being a lawyer, I’m not following your emphasis on *points of law.* As opposed to what?

Babe: I think the problem is they couldn’t connect Casey directly to the crime with hard evidence. I think it might have been some kind of accident. Then her mental problems kicked in and she behaved irrationally, to say the least.

TheBadScot: I actually agree with your assessment of weaknesses of the state’s case. Any one of those things you said they failed to do could have changed this outcome significantly. The system worked, but the child is still dead and as of this moment no one is paying for it. And, Mr. BadScot, for what it’s worth, I think you would love to have me on your jury.

Art: Please don’t send any smelly briefs my way, okay your rascal?

Maureen: I have no doubt that it will. This will haunt her for the rest of her life.

fernsy: We will never really know what happened to that poor child.

Cranky: Nancy Grace is the most annoying person on television. She was practically apoplectic.

Nick: No one deserves that level of punishment.
I didn't watch it, but am not surprised. She is free like us, but my guess is she'll be a lot richer when she sells her "real" story to Hollywood and the Enquirer. The death penalty, as you say, sunk this trial and let's hope someone learns something, so her life will make some difference.
Lezlie, you've said it very well. I wonder how they all go on from here...~r
Kate O’hehir: In my case the “L” stands for Lezlie, which you wouldn’t have known because we are just meeting. I have been feeling for all the Anthony’s this week. The stress must be unbearable. I do hope someone will be held responsible for Caylee’s death eventually.

Scanner: Oh yeah, she will be a reality star like Paris Hilton or somebody.
I followed it spottily but reckoned her implausible account of waiting 30 days, the maid, then the shift to the drowning and implicating her father would have doomed her. But I guess she didn't testify and that by not being able to determine a cause of death (that's correct, isn't it?), the defense was able to raise a reasonable doubt.

There's an old saying in law that it is better that 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person be convicted. It's not a bad principle but it's sometimes hard to swallow.
I was on a jury once and beyond a reasonable doubt is such a tough thing to prove. I think that you are right about the death penalty. She was tried and convicted on TV so I don't know what kind of life she will ever have.
Seer: Yes, she was clearly covering up the child’s death, but they never established why; just a theory.

Abrawang: You are correct, the medical examiner was not able to determine the cause of death; the body was totally decomposed by the time she got it.
I agree with the verdict. Reasonable doubt. I believe it was an accident covered up...
Patrick: I tend to agree with the accident and cover up theory. What I don't know is if she can be charged with that now or if double jeopardy includes all additional charges.
Should they put Mr. Anthony on trial now?
Looks like a couple of you sneaked in while I was responding to others:

Christina: The one and only time I was chosen for a jury I was voted foreman. What a trip. Usually, I don't make it.
Lezlie, what I meant was the following. We all thought she was a dirtbag. We are at our best when we can manage to stick to the law and acquit when we profoundly dislike the defendant. On "points of law," the case was almost entirely circumstantial. There was reasonable doubt. The way in which the child died could not be determined. Things like that. I thought C.A. was guilty, and would be convicted anyway. I am pleased to know that in this day and age, when we seem to elevate stupidity to a national pastime, a jury managed to discern the difference between moral guilt and legal guilt. As ugly as it is, I think it is right.
Cranky: I was surprised at how susceptible I was to the lawyers' closing arguments. When Baez started, I was convinced she was guilty. After he finished, I started identifying the holes in the forensics other things. Then after the prosecution performed so masterfully, I was again convinced she was guilty. So much depends on the deportment of the lawyers. I think the jury identified more with Mr. Baez; the prosecution was almost too smooth. There are so many factors OTHER than the pieces of the puzzle.
I think at least there should be some kind of charge of criminal negligence, if she truly didn't know for a month where her kid was and didn't try to find out ("My two-year-old is missing...owell, I'll go out & party"), or did know and covered it up (which is a little more than "lying to the police").

However, I've been shocked today by a non-guilty verdict closer to home. A Quebec man was acquitted on a charge of murdering his two toddlers in a fit of rage because his wife/their mother had left him for another man. It was blamed on a "psychotic break". Hmm. But get this: He swallowed windshield washer in a suicide effort and then repeatedly stabbed his children (2 and 3 or something like that). Imagine repeatedly stabbing your little kids. And furthermore get THIS: he was a doctor. He could have found a painless way of killing them and a more effective way of killing himself (he survived nicely, thank you).

If he had to kill anyone, why not himself (first choice), the wife and her love (second choice), but why his little kids...

He walks. Hopefully he won't be practicing medicine again, tho...
Helvetica: If they do, I doubt he would make it through the arraignment. I think he is teetering on the edge, big time.

Kate: Yes, law enforcement must have taken their training here in Atlanta. Our cops blow off many legitimate calls.

Bill: Thanks for explaining. I agree the case was totally circumstantial. It is frustrating to "just know" something and not be able to prove it. How do you feel about how law enforcement blew Kronk off when he
oops...when he finally got them to come out to the woods? If he had actually investigated, there might have been enough tissue left to determine the cause of death.
I have not followed the trial. Every time I saw that beautiful little face, I had to change the channel. I hope, one day, that she will be avenged.
Most of my info on this trial has been from your blogs, Leslie. I agree with you totally on your assessment of "jury of her peers".
Told lies. Check. ALL circumstantial evidence. Check. No DNA/Forensic evidence. Check. Cause of death unknown. Check. Death penalty sought. Check.

Convicted? Check: Scott Peterson, currently on death row.

So don't tell me Casey Anthony deserves to walk away absolutely free.
I didn't watch a shred of this. However, we all know that the burden of proof isn't divided evenly, it's on the prosecution, period. They have the harder job. If there's a reasonable doubt, the verdict is supposed to be acquittal. It was. This isn't surprising.

Who pays? For Casey Anthony, I wouldn't call what's happened so far "free". Enough for a murder? Of course not, but we have to establish that she was involved in one and we have insufficient evidence to confirm that.

I'm not the first person to comment this, but acquittal doesn't mean innocent, it means insufficient evidence to be 100% sure of guilt. 90% doesn't do it.
I think it was the only verdict possible.
We don't know beyond reasonable doubt.
PS -- On a personal snarky note, Nancy Grace's face hearing the verdict was not worth the trial, or Caylee's life by any means, but it was priceless and hilarious.
That woman ought to be banned from televison!
No, even better.
She ought to be tried daily by the public's personal opinion, all yelling in her face, as she routinely does to everyone with her horribly damning and judgmental ways, convicting people by her poison.
This is not justice. It is the justice system. They should not be confused. They should also not be at odds. I disagree that the evidence wasn't there pointing to the time and place of her death. The state had her cell phone records and could pinpoint the time of death on the 16th of June to a few hours in the afternoon between when George Anthony last saw them and she was seen at Blockbuster. Based on her cell phone records it's likely in that short period of time she was NOT texting or calling anyone, just prior to her several phone calls to her mother. The location can be pinpointed within a small radius by those records. My sense is that the jury didn't understand the clear path they had to aggravated child abuse/felony murder, which was clearly evidenced in the state's case against Casey Marie Anthony in the death of her daughter.