The Casey Anthony Verdict: Jurors Did the Right Thing

Recently by William L. Anderson: The New York Times' Broken Record: Whoops! We Rushed to Judgment, but the Charges Are Not True!

Nancy Grace is livid. She had been shilling for months for a conviction of Casey Anthony for allegedly murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, and now the jury has acquitted Anthony of murder charges. What’s a gal like Nasty Nancy to do?

Perhaps the first thing that Nasty Nancy should do is to read the laws of this country, and learn the standards that supposedly exist for conviction. Even though Nasty Nancy’s standards for conviction are simple — an accusation automatically means one is guilty — the legal standard actually is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

(One must remember that Nasty Nancy during the Duke Lacrosse Case, in which she automatically declared the lacrosse players guilty of gang rape, actually tried to claim that the legal presumption of innocence was a creation of Hitler’s Germany. I’m serious.)

During the trial of Casey Anthony, the prosecution managed to establish what people already knew:

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  • Casey lied to the police about a number of things;
  • Casey denied murdering her daughter;
  • Casey was not a person of the highest character.

Some of those things are damning indictments if a woman applies for the Mother of the Year Award or is trying to be a role model to young women. I would hope that none of my daughters turns out to be like Casey Anthony.

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However, having a bad character does not mean one is a murderer. If that were so, then Washington, D.C., would be the murder capital of the world. (Come to think of it, not long ago, D.C. WAS the murder capital of the world, and it is true that bad character abounds in that city. Nonetheless, my original point stands.)

Seizing on the duct tape, prosecutors then claimed that Casey smothered her child with it in order to get rid of her so that she could be a Big Party Animal. The problem was that they had no idea if the child were smothered with duct tape or not, none. They were engaging in conjecture, and any jury that takes its job seriously is not going to convict on the basis of a pretty loose conjecture.

Now, had Casey’s DNA been found on the duct tape, that might have demonstrated a connection to the prosecution’s narrative, but, alas, they found nothing of the sort. What they had was a little girl’s skeletal remains and a mother of less-than-savory character.

In the end, the jury did convict Casey Anthony of the obvious: she lied to the police. The crimes are misdemeanors, and the maximum she could get if the sentences for each of the four counts are run consecutively is four years, and she already has been jailed for three. Thus, whatever time she will spend in jail almost is over.

I predict that in the coming days, Nasty Nancy will be hounding the jurors and doing everything but demanding that lynch mobs burn down the jurors’ houses. Certainly, the Usual Suspects in the media will denounce what they see as a wrongful acquittal.

Yet, what I see is a jury that did its job. Prosecutors demanded that jurors engage in speculation, and the jurors refused to do that, and I applaud them for their integrity. Maybe Casey Anthony did murder her daughter, but the prosecution never proved it, and jurors are supposed to acquit when that happens. And it happened.

July 7, 2011