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Blind Justice

The recent Casey Anthony trial captured the American imagination much as O.J. Simpson nearly two decades earlier. An apparently callous mother, murdering her two-year-old daughter, implicating her parents in the cover-up, shows no remorse for her misdeeds. In fact, pictures of her at a local bar show her having a good ol’ time on the day her Caylee allegedly disappeared.

Americans were universally outraged. Most people who have been following the case believe Casey is guilty of killing her daughter. Me, I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong; I believe she did do it; common sense points in that direction. She obviously was hiding something; she lied repeatedly to the police (the one crime she was found guilty of) and at nearly every turn exhibited almost no concern over her daughter’s disappearance, seemingly more upset over her own incarceration. Her parents, George and Cindy grieved publically when little Caylee’s remains were found in the woods a mile or so from their home. Casey – not so much.

See, here is the thing though; much of the actual evidence is entirely circumstantial. The coroner could not conclusively determine how little Caylee had died; more than a month in the heat and humidity of central Florida in an environment where the remains would not only decompose but be subject to the attention of carrion eaters made certain of that. Just as all the circumstantial evidence points towards a guilty verdict, the dearth of physical evidence raises a reasonable doubt as to Casey’s guilt, enough so that I believe the jury acted properly.

Reasonable doubt is one of the cornerstones of our legal system. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution wasn’t able to do that, and thus Casey will go free in a short amount of time; she has already served nearly three years in jail, and the maximum sentence for each count of providing false information to law enforcement officers in an investigation; she was found guilty on four counts. However, it is possible that the crimes of fraud and theft that she was originally arrested for – and whose charges were dropped in favor of the murder charge – may once again be pressed.

The crime is heinous and Casey’s conduct is quite frankly unconscionable. She certainly is exhibiting sociopathic tendencies but you can’t convict a person for how they behave. You can’t send a person to jail on gut instinct. Even though I think it is extremely likely that Casey killed her own daughter, that’s merely opinion and an opinion, no matter how well-informed it might be (and mine is admittedly much less well-informed than most) is not sufficient for a guilty verdict.

The future looks fairly grim for Casey Anthony regardless. Yes, a book or movie deal might be on the horizon but given her notoriety a normal life is out of the question for her from here on in. Look at O.J. His books did not sell very well at all and his endorsements went away; he started off wealthy and was able to live off what he already had, more or less. Casey won’t have that luxury.

She will undoubtedly be made painfully aware that most people consider her not only a murderer, but a murderer of her own daughter; she will be shunned and hated. Getting regular employment will be nigh on impossible. She will have to hope that a fairly well-off man will take care of her, or she will need to turn to less reputable ways of making ends meet, such as adult films (as Amy Fisher turned to), selling drugs or even prostitution. Drug and alcohol abuse will also be a likely outcome as she tries to deal with the enormous burden placed on her. Karma is, after all, quite the bitch.

I do feel sorry for the rest of her family. Cindy and George will be grieving for their granddaughter but also have to live with the stigma their daughter has put on the family. George, accused of abusing Casey sexually (an accusation that was never proven by the defense nor did they even attempt to, which is why the abuse was never referred to in the closing arguments), will have to live with that wedge that will now be forever be between him and his daughter. Whether or not the allegations are true or not (and most people believe they’re not), it’s hard to see if George and Casey can ever truly reconcile after this. How do you hug your daughter when she claims you raped her?

She has alienated her family. She is perceived as a baby killer by the public. She is certainly immature and completely unfit to be a mother at present. Casey Anthony is a modern pariah, a woman whose attitude and indifference, her pathological lying and self-involvement may well make her a poster child for everything that’s wrong with our society today.

The jury got this one right, as much as it pains me to admit it. Like you, I think Casey Anthony deserves to rot in jail and should never be allowed to have children again as long as she lives, or at least until she gets some psychiatric help to get her to deal with what are obviously deep-seated issues.  That, however, is just my opinion. Fortunately for me, I don’t have to back it up. Her actions point in that direction, and that’s certainly all I need to make up my mind. That’s the luxury of being a monday morning quarterback. 

The prosecutors weren’t so lucky. They had to show conclusively that she did it. I don’t think they did. I don’t think they could have given the technology currently available. Her acquittal may well be a miscarriage of justice, but it isn’t a miscarriage of the justice system. The system worked, like it or not.

And little Caylee sleeps, and so the angels weep. This is a modern tragedy that even Shakespeare couldn’t have dreamed up. Nobody wins in this scenario; not the legal profession, whose Jose Baez seems to exemplify what everyone believes is wrong with lawyers (although to be honest, I think he did what he was supposed to do – give his client the best defense possible). Not the public, who have taken little Caylee to heart and whose morbid and ghoulish fascination with the trial has not been one of our better hours. Not the media, who flogged the story to death and often reported false and misleading information about the case, further fanning the fire. Certainly not the Anthony family, who will mourn for the rest of the lives.

Least of all Caylee, denied a chance at having a good life. No trips to Walt Disney World with her grandparents, no Christmas mornings unwrapping presents; no first day of school or first day of summer. No first kiss or first boyfriend; no future at all. Does she cry for justice, or do we do that for her? And are we looking for justice or vengeance? That is the one question nobody seems to be able to answer. In fact, it’s a question nobody is really asking anyway.


5 Responses

  1. Very well put. I couldn’t have said it any better (that’s why you are the blogger, and not me :)).
    We don’t want vengeance. At least, I don’t. There is imo only one thing we can do, as a society. And that is “ignore the b*tch”. Don’t buy her book, don’t give her a reality show, don’t give her the opportunity to make money out of this. Sue her for the costs made caused by her lying (the search and rescue, etc etc).

    Her parents are a whole different story. I can’t imagine what it feels like for them, how torn they must be. I feel for them, and I hope that one day, they will be a little at peace…

  2. You hit the nail on the head Carlos…great commentary!
    Rhonda L.

  3. fantasic as always…I feel for the parents also,as they lost a grandchild and yes a daughter.After all this i doubt they could look at Casey as a child of there own.The lies she told to protect herself,hurting more people in the process….I do hope people ban her books and movie.It will be based on lies anyways.The only person who can tell the whole truth,the true story is the little angel in heaven.
    For you Caylee…you have my word i will not buy nor watch the movie!!!

  4. You echoed my sentiments about this harrowing case Carlos. It is incredible that with all of the evidence she ‘got off’ although as you said it is all circumstantial. One day when she has received professional help maybe she can step back into reality and maybe the enormity of what she has done will hit her and her pain will begin. No matter what, her life before her will be one of torment and suffering, so even though she got off, she cannot ever escape what she has done, ended her daughters life, a beautiful angel who deserved the best in life, the best love…

  5. Good that you ended with Caylee and her loss. That’s what justice is about and one way or another she will find justice,in a higher court not here.

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