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Casey Anthony Trial: What the @#$! and Now What?

With the recent announcement of a not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, many onlookers are left to wonder how and why a case that seemed like a slam dunk could result in Casey Anthony walking free.

The backlash was seen not only in emotional crowds outside the courtroom, and across various broadcast channels, but with the advent of the internet and real-time sharing, many shared their opinions through Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts.

As referenced in the Palm Beach Post, the case was referred to as “the social media trial of the century.” Amy Singer, jury consultant for Anthony’s defense team, went on to say that at one point “over one million people were blogging about the trial, not including the thousands more who were either tweeting, texting, or discussing the case in online chat rooms.”

Many of these bloggers and influencers were convinced that Anthony was not only guilty, but they had actually come to hate her. It was unsurprising, when her verdict was read, that a general uproar and disappointment in our legal system came to light.

From this criminal defense lawyer’s perspective, however, our legal system did its job. What most people do not realize is that our legal system was designed under the premise that it is better for 10 guilty people to go free than convict a single innocent person. While our criminal justice system may favor the defendant by placing the burden of proof on the government, there are still many innocent people who are wrongly convicted. According to the Innocence Project, there have been 272 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

At any rate, this week’s jury’s verdict does not mean that Casey is innocent, only that she is not guilty. It means that the government was not able to prove that the crimes happened beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. When the prosecution brings a case against a defendant, it is their duty to prove their case. In the Casey Anthony trial, the prosecution failed to prove the charges, the charges that they selected and chose to file.

As in the case of the Duke Lacrosse Team, it is the jury’s duty to keep the government in check, and protected from over zealous prosecutors, who have the freedom to bring charges against anyone they choose.

While the verdict may not be a popular one, the jury did their job and followed the law after fully examining every piece of evidence that they and only they had the opportunity to view. Many people across the nation are incredibly angry with the result of this case and there is even a movement to pass a law entitled “Caylee’s Law,” making it a federal offense and a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report a child’s disappearance to law enforcement.

As a final thought, (and especially if you weren’t happy with the verdict) make sure you show up next time you receive a summons for jury duty; I heard a judge once say that it’s the second most patriotic thing you can do for your country, besides serving in the military during a time of war.

2 Comments

  • Stacy Chapman says:

    Admittedly, I am upset by the verdict; however, after listening to the over the last 6 weeks, I was not surprised. Knowing what instructions the jury would receive, it was clear to everyone in the legal community what the outcome would be. I understand the disappointment, but cringe at the backlash the jury has received. I think this is where everyone needs to be educated – sit in on a jury trial and listen. The judge instructs a jury and the jury did the job they were “hired” to do. The instructions do not always lead to getting it right, but wouldn’t you be happy if you were on the receiving end of an accusation that couldn’t pass muster? Once that could lead to a needle? Then the justice system would be the best one in the world…which it is, even if Casey Anthony gets to go back to her life.

  • Natalie says:

    As much as I cannot understand their reasoning and as much as I disagree with their verdict, I (sadly) agree with your thoughts that the jury did their job. I watched the entire trial and had NO DOUBT that the prosecution proved each element of each crime but I guess without DNA or finger prints, juries are not convicting

    Maybe this will help future jurors realize that you don’t always have hard evidence like we see on tv and that circumstantial evidence is just as credible. Sometimes we need to remember that in some cases you won’t be given all the variables but 1 + x = 2 just as clearly as 1 + 1 does!

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