In a court of law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In the media world, it’s just the other way around, guilty until proven innocent. Today in a court of law, a jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of all felony crimes related to killing her 2 year old daughter, Caylee. The media world and Nancy Grace who dubbed her “Tot Mom” and branded her a killer before, during and after the verdict is
neither the judge nor the jury. Did the jury reach a fair verdict based on the evidence in this case?
There were enough holes for the jury to see through the prosecution’s case. There was more than enough reasonable doubt to go around. The jury only needed one reasonable doubt and the defense gave them many more doubts based on reason. I, too like Casey Anthony, the prosecutor and the defense attorneys and probably the judge was shocked at the verdict. I thought at best, her lawyers had done a good enough job for a hung jury. That would have meant that at least one juror would find reasonable doubt and vote not guilty.
As a former felony prosecutor, trying a murder case with only circumstantial evidence and no DNA and no witnesses was always problematic. They were almost always not guilty verdicts. And I also ended up playing up to the jury’s emotions in asking “who
will speak for the victim.” But, when the defense pokes as many holes in a prosecutor’s case as attorney Jose Baez did, emotions will not save the day in
a murder case. The jury saw through the holes in the case. And they had the courage to render a fair and just verdict.
When I prosecuted, I always asked that the verdict be fair and just. And if it was fair and just based solely on the evidence and nothing else, I was satisfied, even with a not guilty verdict. Yes, the prosecution is disappointed as I would be in prosecuting and losing a murder case. But, you take your case and the victim as you find them. The prosecution had a good victim in Caylee but a poor or weak circumstantial case. Hence, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder of her daughter, Caylee.
In the words of the late attorney Johnnie Cochran, if the evidence doesn’t fit, you must acquit. And in the Casey Anthony case, the evidence didn’t match up to a murder conviction. It was a just and fair verdict.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a lawyer, blogger, former prosecutor and legal and political commentator who frequently is seen in the media speaking on issues affecting women. She also writes for the Huffington Post, Politic 365 and the Women’s Media Center. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.