Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The jury in the Florida trial of Casey Anthony has returned verdicts of NOT GUILTY on all of the felony counts, and GUILTY of three of four counts of making false statements to a police officer.

This outcome has provoked howls of outrage among some bloodthirsty folks. But twelve good citizens all said that the State failed to prove that Ms. Anthony did anything unlawful to her daughter. These outraged folks had been having their appetite for an auto-da-fe whetted by the lurid media coverage of the case for the last three years. Any fool can see that Casey Anthony is a flake of the first water, and likely had no business having custody of a child in the first place.

But being a flake and being a murderer are two different things. Too much of the prosecution's case consisted of showing that Anthony was a flake. Everything else was speculation based on circumstance, which is a very different thing than "circumstantial evidence". Even the cause of death was vague.

As the defense very adroitly pointed out, the prosecution's case consisted of: Cute little innocent girl; flaky, weird mommy; goofy mommies have been known to kill their kids; so what else could it be?

That is NOT "evidence beyond a reasonable doubt".

We do not say here that Casey Anthony is INNOCENT. the verdict was "NOT GUILTY". She may well have murdered her daughter. But "obviously she had to have done it" is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the standard for conviction. It is a high standard, and that's a good thing. "Probably did it" is insufficient reason for sending someone to prison or the death chamber.

Suppose that everyone knows that you are a big camera buff and have been known to say that you want a very expensive digital camera, that you positively obsess over it. One morning the police come to your door and accuse you of stealing that model of camera from your neighbor's car. There are no fingerprints, just the fact that you live next door and were seen going into your house at 3 AM carrying a bag that you explain contained items you had purchased at 7-11 after walking to the store. A search of your home reveals no evidence of the stolen camera, but you are arrested because, if not you then who else would have done such a thing?? Oh, and you own a pair of gloves, which they allege explains the lack of fingerprints.

In court the prosecutor points out that you have borrowed tools and not returned them. Surely you must have stolen that camera. And maybe you did. But how should the jury rule, given the evidence presented?

In the Anthony case, TWELVE PEOPLE decided that there existed a short ton of "reasonable doubt".

You see, ensuring that the innocent are NOT unjustly punished is a higher priority than punishing the truly guilty. When the bloodthirsty fools condemn this verdict they should stop and consider if they would like to have a case involving them be "tried" by lurid TV shows and "experts" who don't know; who have never seen the evidence that is presented to the jury. The twelve jurors quite speedily came to a unanimous and confident conclusion that the evidence given them to consider did NOT constitute sufficient proof to send Casey Anthony to the death chamber. That's the end of that, and that's as it should be.

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