The Anthony Verdict

I had something else I wanted to write about today, but the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial yesterday is overshadowing all other events. Fine. I have a few things to say about that.

I was watching as the verdicts on the various counts were read: not guilty of murder, not guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of child neglect/abuse, guilty on all counts of lying. My first reaction? What a travesty. Now that I’ve had time to ponder the verdicts some more, and can back away from my initial emotional response, I have concluded the following: it’s a travesty.

I can see why the jury might not have come in with a guilty verdict on outright murder—there are some questions that remain unanswered about how little Caylee Anthony died. Yet the mountain of circumstantial evidence that Casey was somehow involved, or at the very least didn’t care about her daughter’s wellbeing, is overwhelming. How could she not be found guilty of child neglect? She didn’t report Caylee was missing for a month. During that time, she was out partying. She even got a tattoo that said, in Italian, “Beautiful Life.” The prosecution’s claim that she wanted to be rid of her daughter, who was keeping her from “enjoying” her life, rings true.

And why all the lying, for which she was convicted? Why would she go to such outlandish lengths as to fabricate the existence of a nanny/housekeeper? Her entire story was one long string of lies, easily demolished by investigators. The only reason I can figure why she built this house of cards was to cover up for the death of her daughter. And why cover it up if it had only been an accident? Why, when Caylee’s body was found, was there duct tape over her face? Why did Casey’s car have the stench of a decomposing body?

How in the world could a jury come back with “not guilty” on all the most significant counts? If they truly believe she lied so profusely, there had to be something significant to lie about. To conclude that she lied on all matters relating to the death, and not to connect those lies to culpability regarding the death itself is really rather incomprehensible.

I’m not the kind of person who calls for vigilante justice when an injustice occurs in the system. I believe in the rule of law, as I’ve stated so many times in this blog. I know a jury has to take into account “reasonable doubt,” but in this case, please forgive me if I think the jury misunderstands that term. Just because some shred of doubt may exist, that’s not the same as reasonable doubt. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient if there is enough of it; to most people following the trial, the circumstantial evidence was convincing.

If Casey Anthony is innocent, so is O.J. Simpson.

This is another miscarriage of justice. What rubs salt into this societal wound is the defense team itself, another in a long list of criminal defense teams that give a bad name to the profession. The lead man, Jose Baez, used the verdict to rail against the death penalty. It seems he has an agenda. Another of the team lashed out against lawyers who commented on the case on television. Overall, they indicated that Casey’s character was maligned unfairly. It seems to me that her character is quite clear, and anything negative said about her can be backed up by her lifestyle. And what did this defense team offer as an alternative explanation for Caylee’s death? Pure speculation. Drowned in a pool. Where was the evidence for that? Fortunately for them, the entire Anthony family seemed to be dysfunctional enough to make a jury believe anything was possible.

What is she going to do now? Get a “reality” television show? Write a bestselling book? Don’t be surprised. We are a culture that thrives on this type of “entertainment.” Perhaps that jury is simply a reflection of who we are collectively.