Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Casey Anthony Verdict: Justice for Whom?

The problem for the prosecution in this case is that while they provided a lot of circumstantial evidence to support elements of their case, even if we accepted their evidence without question, there remained significant and reasonable doubt that Caylee's death may have been accidental. Take the elements one at a time:

A hair matching that from Caylee's brush and recovered from the trunk of Casey's car, had post-mortem banding consistent with a decomposing body. Experts also testified that air samples taken from the trunk of Casey's car showed evidence of a decomposing body having been in the trunk. One air sample was said to have high levels of chloroform present, while the other air sample, analyzed by a different lab, found low levels of chloroform present. One expert testified that chloroform would be expected to be found in a trunk air sample where a decomposing body had lain.

Because of the inconsistencies regarding chloroform testified to by experts, there is reasonable doubt that Casey administered chloroform to Caylee: the evidence for this part of the prosecution's theory is just not there. On the other hand, it is agreed that Caylee's decomposing body more than likely lay in the trunk of Casey's car for some time. However, it is possible that following an accidental death, Caylee's decomposing body was placed in the trunk until a permanent resting place could be determined

Whether or not Casey did a computer search for "How to Make Chloroform", there is no evidence that Casey had or exercised the capability to make chloroform or administer it to herself, Caylee or anyone else. There is insufficient evidence of Casey, or anyone, having administered chloroform to Caylee and this provokes significant and reasonable doubt that Casey murdered her daughter by administering chloroform.

The duct tape that was found attached to Caylee's skull is the same brand as duct tape found in the Anthony home, but we have no assurance that the crime scene duct tape was from the roll kept at the Anthony home. Testimony of experts and others who had visited Caylee's swampy grave, established that the site had been tampered with and that people, animals, and the elements may have moved parts of Caylee's decomposed body around. The prosecution theory that the duct tape had been applied by Casey to the nose and mouth in an attempt to smother Caylee was not proven in regard to the positioning of the duct tape or as to who might have positioned the duct tape. There has been no report whether Caylee's hands and feet were bound. If someone had placed duct tape over Caylee's mouth and nose to smother her, Caylee would have pulled the tape off with her hands. The duct tape theory is another element of the case that provokes reasonable doubt.

The prosecution theorized that the motive for murdering her daughter was that Casey wanted to be a party girl rather than a mom. Reports have confirmed that Casey has been a "party girl" for most of her adult life, with little change in her partying after Caylee was born or even after Caylee was missing and presumed dead. She had no shortage of ready babysitters to take Caylee frequently so mom could party. Despite Casey's affinity for the high life, photos presented to the court documented a loving, happy relationship with Caylee; the child was well-nourished, well-developed, and well-dressed. There was no evidence or even rumors of neglect or abuse. In addition, scientists who study human behavior have noted that some people develop a psychologic disorder consistent with mania (which involves behavior such as that demonstrated by Casey during the thirty-one days when Caylee was "missing") as an expression of their deep and unresolved grief. Again, there is reasonable doubt as to the prosecution's theory of motive.

While in my "gut" I feel and believe, as many others do, that Casey is somehow responsible for Caylee's death, I cannot say that the prosecution has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution was unable or incapable of developing and introducing enough solid evidence to remove the reasonable doubts discussed above. The Jury produced a correct verdict given the dearth of convincing evidence and the reasonable doubts that remained at the end of the day.

In our American Legal System, a large percentage of those who are accused of deadly crimes have their day in court and receive justice (conviction or acquittal). Victims of the most violent and deadly crimes, on the other hand, rarely get their day in court. Victims are at the mercy of a legal system that is more interested in preserving the rights of alleged criminals and assuring they get justice rather than in seeking justice for the victims.

While our legal system may have provided justice, according to the law, to Casey Anthony, where is the justice for Caylee? I’m afraid that many innocent victims like Caylee will be denied justice in this mortal world without significant improvement in our society and our legal system.