So many thoughts rolling through my mind right now. Most of them came about after reading responses on the internet following the reading of the verdict and the sentencing in the Casey Anthony case. Of my thoughts, the majority are of the sadness and frustration variety. Sad because comments that I’ve seen posted on friend’s walls on Facebook and elsewhere on the internet are downright hateful. The disrespect, the denigration and belittling of each other, the general mood of hate toward fellow commenters is saddening & maddening. With her release from prison coming in just a few short days, I thought I’d take a moment and share my thoughts about this.
First, let me state this: I am not a lawyer. I have friends that are lawyers, I was on track to go to law school, and I have a B.A. in legal administration. In the words of one of my undergrad profs, “I know enough about the law to make me dangerous.” Also, I did my internship with the Florida State Attorney’s office. All of the attorneys I worked with in the SA’s office were hard-working and intent on convicting those who broke the law. I loved working with the attorneys at the SA’s office. I loved when I could help them make their case and get their convictions. I had planned to make a career out of fighting for “truth and justice” however chose not to go to law school for a multitude of reasons.
Second: with the exception of God and the actual perpetrator, NO ONE knows what really happened. Maybe she did it, maybe she didn’t. Maybe she knew what had happened or who did it, maybe she didn’t. Somebody DID kill that little girl, there’s no doubt there because her body was recovered. Did the person that was on trial do it? We don’t know. There’s a little girl who died and no one is stepping forward to own up to it. There will be a judgment day for that individual and they will have to account for their actions.
Third: facts, like numbers, can be manipulated. They can be phrased/presented/declared to tell whatever story or “truth” the user wants them to say. Case in point – reality TV. Do you really think these things are a true telling of what is or was actually going on? No! The producers take the raw footage and manipulate it in whatever way they want to tell the story of their choosing. The same can be said about “facts” in a court case.
Fourth: I intentionally did not watch the court proceedings. Spending the amount of time in criminal courtrooms I did during my internship gave me enough exposure to the justice system to last me a lifetime. Note: Despite all of this, I never get picked for jury panels and I’d really like to serve on one.
All of the above being said, let me throw my two cents into the ring. The prosecution, as hard as they worked, did not make their case. The defense team did their job, which was to tear holes in the prosecution’s case and cast doubt. The members of the jury, once they were allowed to read and/or hear the news, were probably devastated by all that was said about them and their decision. I would be, if I had served on that jury.
Were all the “facts” presented? Who knows? Armchair analysts all over the planet have waxed philosophic over this case for the past week. Sure, people have pointed to the “facts” and asked how the jury wouldn’t consider this “fact” or that “fact.” Who’s to say they didn’t?
Did the prosecution have concrete evidence that declared Casey Anthony as the killer of her daughter? From what I’ve read & heard, they didn’t. Their evidence was circumstantial. And let me tell you, in this “Show me the money” society we live in, if there aren’t any cold, hard pieces of evidence that show that a perpetrator actually did what he or she is charged with doing, they probably won’t receive a guilty verdict even though “reasonable” is all the jury needed to contend with. To this group of 12, the evidence did not indicate this. If it had been a different group of 12, perhaps the outcome would have been different.
Yeah, she got a big ole ugly tat on her shoulder after her daughter went missing. Yeah, she was seen partying it up while her daughter was missing. Yeah, it was 31 days before anyone in that family reported the child as missing. Yeah, she was photographed smiling & laughing after her verdicts were read.
Sadly, NONE of these make the case that she did it. They’re a sad commentary, to be true. But remember, “facts” can be manipulated to tell any story the teller wants them to tell.
The term, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” has been bandied around in many threads I’ve read. Rendering a guilty verdict is serious business. The jury knew their responsibility and what the possible outcomes were. Would I have been able to come up with a different conclusion if I had been on that jury? Who’s to say? Remember, the jury is only presented the evidence in court. They’re only allowed to deliberate on the evidence presented. “Reasonable” is a legal term. The term isn’t “beyond all doubt” it’s “reasonable doubt.” Many of my law classes dealt with looking at things through the eyes of the “reasonable person.” As in, would a “reasonable person” do this?
The whole court process is a debate. One side presents an argument and all their evidence to make their case, the other side rebuts. The other side presents an argument and all their evidence to make their case, the first side rebuts. The 12 people picked to sit on the jury then determine who had the better argument based on the evidence that was presented to them. Nothing more, nothing less.
Saw an interview on one of the morning news shows with the jury foreman. He and his fellow jurors knew that their decision wasn’t going to be a popular one and it was interesting to hear his comments about the whole thing.
So she gets out of prison in a couple of days. Reports are stating she wants to have plastic surgery and go into hiding. I find that pretty interesting behavior for someone who was just found not guilty of killing their child.