On The Caylee Marie Anthony Verdict

Kinda weird that I’d get three questions on a case which I had no knowledge of ten minutes before the verdict came out.

I thought I’d be able to get away with “I never heard of it,” but when it shows up on Public Radio (not just a talking item, but a tear-down on what happened; occasionally I wish they knew enough about when it was okay to say “it happened” and leave it at that) I’m left with having to dissect it on my own terms. So…here it goes:

1: I’ve been here before, a couple of times.

I remember what I was doing for the OJ verdict…I also remember that the black passengers were a bit happier than usual that day. I even got more tips than usual from the black passengers that day (four years of experience by then, plus stuff I’ve heard from others of all races in different jobs that relied on tips more than Taxi Drivers, so stop yourself).

I’ve also been a juror. And while the trial wasn’t murder, it was an experience that I’m sure I can use to illuminate the trial.

2: The verdict was “Not Guilty of The Charges,” NOT “Innocent”

There is a difference.

“Innocent” means Casey Anthony had nothing to do with the killing of Caylee. “Not Guilty Of The Charges” means the prosecution didn’t prove BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that Casey Anthony did what they charged her (First-Degree Murder, Aggravated Child Abuse, and Aggravated Manslaughter).

Understand what the Prosecution was going for on the Caylee Marie Anthony trial: That Casey Anthony had decided that her two year daughter needed to die, of planning (at the least, how she was going to kill) and of carrying out that plan. The plan could have been made three minutes before it was carried out, but there was a plan. And they had to prove it to a point where only the desperate and pre-judging couldn’t deny what they set out to prove.

It’s a high standard. Much higher than what most of us ask for most of the time, in fact.

And while the jury was ready to charge Casey Anthony with something, it wasn’t Capitol Murder. And since that was the only charge up, that means it was all-or-nothing…and thus they got nothing.

Which means the Prosecution made one major blunder:

3: There Was NO Backup Charge.

When I was a juror, the major charge was theft of money from the company. On that charge, we were given three different ways of ruling:

  1. Guilty of stealing over $100,000 from the company
  2. Guilty of stealing from the company
  3. Not Guilty of the above charges.

Now I’m sure the prosecution thought they could have gotten the “over $100,000” through to us, but to make sure they included a “stealing money.” And when the jury got to the decision phase, it ended up being 5 for “Guilty of over $100,000” and 7 for “Guilty of stealing money.” The five of us who wanted the greater felony settled, deciding to agree that money was stolen.

And how was the Prosecution able to get the guilty verdicts (a couple other charges were also declared guilty)? Simple:

4: Time must be taken to insure a good case…or know when to drop it in good stead.

In the case I was juror to, the defendant “confessed” to stealing a bunch of money from the company. She was arrested.

A YEAR AND A HALF LATER.

So what was the Prosecution doing during that time, when the defendant could have bailed out of the country? Simple: strengthening their case and making sure they have their bases covered. Even if it’s a frame-up, they want to make sure things are in a row…mainly because people confess and turn around to deny the confession.

I’m guessing that, with Nancy Grace pushing this thing to high heaven and the Pro-Life forces rallying around yet another young child to prove their pro-children boni-fides (remember, we’re talking about a nation that is hell-bent on criminalizing miscarriages), the prosecution was rushed to not only put Casey on trial, but to try to extract the greatest punishment out of her. Hence the three extreme charges when a properly-placed alternative would have probably gotten the job done (Justice For Caylee).

I remember the same thing happening with the OJ case. With a focus that wouldn’t brook a break, the Prosecution had to put together a case that ended up flawed. The timeline was itself so flawed that they didn’t give enough time for OJ to finally make it to the airport (The Star had it pegged before the trial; I wish I had the article), and a lot of other items proved less solid than at first glance. And the result was the same: “Judged Not Guilty.” “Judged Not Guilty.” “Judged Not Guilty.”

(and again, a lot of the “Not Guilty” camp are willing to say “Not that he wasn’t involved, just not directly.” A couple have gone so far as to say “He watched it, to make DAMN sure it happened.”)