AVS Criminal Law @ 2011The mystery relies on the assumption that in a case where none of the witnesses are believable, the jurywill naturally reach a conclusion of not guilty. Uncertainty and confusion favor the defense, even when thedefense is responsible for that uncertainty and confusion.The Casey Anthony trial certainly had enough of that, delving into a strange dynamic among the Anthonyfamily that would not be out of place in a Tennessee Williams melodrama. The defense never presentedevidence that George Anthony molested his daughter, as promised in the opening statement, but theconflicting stories and odd behavior by witnesses likely only helped the defense. The jurors did not needto believe any of Casey Anthony’s various explanations for her daughter’s disappearance. They just had todisbelieve everyone else, which each member of the Anthony family who testified made it very easy to do.
Why Did She Do It? Murder One or Manslaughter. :-
The various media accounts have condemned Casey Anthony as a terrible mother who wanted to freeherself from the burden of raising a small child and killed her child so she could live a free life of a singletwenty-something. In accordance with this theory, the prosecution charged her with first degree murder,which requires premeditation. Casey was also charged, in the alternative, with aggravated manslaughter,which left open the possibility that she was responsible for the death, but the death was still accidental.Having tried for a conviction for first degree murder, which carries the death penalty in Florida, theprosecutors likely overreached. Because they were unable to effectively prove that Casey deliberatelymurdered Caylee to free herself of the burdens of motherhood, the prosecution likely also made it difficultfor jurors to decide on manslaughter; given the choice, they chose neither. Had the prosecution gone forthe lesser charge against Casey Anthony, one that did not require proving premeditation and thus requireda motive that may have seemed only a vague hypothesis, the jurors might have been more willing toconvict her based on the physical evidence.The vast majority of criminal cases end not in jury verdicts, but in plea bargain agreements betweenprosecutors and defense attorneys. In many cases where a plea bargain cannot be reached, it representsa failure by one of the sides. While no one yet knows whether or not both sides attempted to reach a pleadeal, it is easy to surmise that the prosecution, responding to public anger over the case stoked byprofessional witch-hunters like Nancy Grace, may not have offered a plea bargain to Casey Anthony andinstead pursued a first degree murder case that they could not hope to prove.America loves its salacious criminal trials, whether Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson or Scott Peterson, but inthe end CNN and Fox News do not convict people of crimes. Juries do, based on the evidence that isconstitutionally permissible to present. Whether or not Casey Anthony killed her daughter, it is the juryalone that makes that decision and not Nancy Grace. A woman who claims that “the devil is dancing in thestreet” based on the verdict and feels fit to attack the character of the jurors based on their decisiondeserves no say in the process. Her heart and mind belong not in twenty-first century America, but inSpain during the Inquisition or Salem during its witch trials.
Justice for Caylee! :-
The common refrain after the not guilty verdict was announced was that there was no justice for CayleeAnthony. It seems like a nice sentiment, but it’s a dangerous one. It treats justice like a commodity thatcan be traded, bought or bargained away like precious metals or trading cards.