The Casey Anthony verdict along with the O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake verdicts has stirred unrivaled controversy. Why this particular case about this deceased child rather then the other 140 cases of children who have died without knowing why still on the books? The answer is twofold. First, the dysfunctional Anthony family and second, the media. With the possible exception of Casey’s brother, no one in the Anthony family is very good at telling the truth. This family has lost all credibility when it comes to the disappearance of two year old Caylee. The actions of Caylee’s mother Casey Anthony speaks volumes about her mind set during the entire ordeal. The general public is having great difficulty understanding why the entire Anthony family wasn’t frantic about the missing child. Certainly Casey Anthony was almost completely divorced emotionally from the situation as shown by her partying and thoughtless acts in the beginning. Her mood only changed slightly after her arrest judging by her video taped jail house visits.
Over the last three years from missing child, finding the remains and then to jury trial, the media has sensationalized this case. A very easy thing to do given the actions of the family but especially seeing Casey Anthony’s life style. In Florida this case has been on the news constantly, including the picture of Caylee and then a picture of Casey as the only accused murderer according to the media. In three years the press has effectively demonized Casey Anthony. Because of the extensive coverage in this case the public and the state prosecutors became emotionally invested and could only see one possible conclusion to the case. Every day we are still seeing pictures of Caylee and Casey on the news. It is impossible to be a human being and not feel deeply about the tragic fate of two year old Caylee.
With the media fanning the flames the state prosecutors got caught up in the emotion of the case as well. Law scholars reflecting on the case have stated that the hard evidence was just not there. First degree murder and manslaughter are extremely serious crimes with the former being a capital offense. The burden of proof for these crimes lies squarely on the shoulders of the prosecution. They believed in their own press and were completely convinced they were going to get a conviction on all counts. This was quite evident when the verdict was being read and when they were interviewed by the news media a few days later. They were completely stunned. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that someone in the state prosecutor’s office did speak up and say, “There isn’t enough hard evidence to convict Casey.” Instead they forged ahead wasting a lot of taxpayer’s money. In additon, they plainly went for too much. A non capital offense such as involuntary manslaughter or even child neglect might have been easier convictions.
A large part of the trial going awry for the prosecutors is the general public is subjected these days to countless criminal investigation programs on television. Everyone has become an expert CSI investigator. Perhaps twenty years ago circumstantial evidence presented like this would have been enough for a conviction. Now everyone is looking for DNA, fibers, mud, foot prints or anything that connects the suspect directly to the crime. The prosecution failed to prove how Caylee died or exactly when she died. No suspects could be placed at the death scene which some experts think had been disturbed.
The jurors must be commended in making a courageous decision in returning the not guilty verdicts. Judging by the first votes cast for first degree murder and manslaughter, not everyone was on board for not guilty. Apparently some jurors were caught up in the emotion of the case as well. The death of a child cannot easily be dismissed. During the eleven hours of deliberation other jurors explained to them the evidence was just not there for a guilty verdict on all counts. The judge’s instructions were quite explicit, he explained the law and how it was to be applied to the various counts. In the end the jury had no choice but to acquit Casey Anthony on the first degree murder and manslaughter counts. It was easy for the jury to return guilty verdicts for lying to the police as that was a proven fact.
In the aftermath of the trial the media continues to feed the public frenzy. This has sparked death threats made to the jurors and made their lives a living hell. This is not the way justice is supposed to be applied. Respect for the jury in returning this decision will never happen. Now new jurors for new trials are less likely to serve. Trial by a jury of your peers is an important part of the legal system. Without it we are lost.
Casey Anthony is guilty to some degree in the death of her daughter Caylee. Perhaps she used chlorform as a babysitter so she could go out and party. Then accidently gave little Caylee too much. No part of that is a good idea and quite frankly very repulsive. We may or may not ever know what really happened to Caylee. The only thing for sure is the law has failed to bring her killer to justice. RIP little Caylee.