Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My obligatory Casey Anthony post

Ok, I've never said much about the Casey Anthony case, except that I was a little sick of it. A lot sick of it, actually. So I'm pleased that it is, mercifully, over. And in such a way that it will really never come back. There will be no appeal (I seriously doubt she will appeal the convictions of lying). There won't be a retrial. There will only be rumblings for a while and maybe an interview some day. But mostly, it's over.

And the only thing I really want to say tonight is this: Suck it, Nancy Grace! If you've been around these parts for any length of time, it's not a surprise that I don't much like Nancy. I admit I take random potshots at her in my posts. (She deserves them.) I don't trust her spin on cases, as in this case. If you think you know everything there is to know about this case from watching Nancy Grace, think again.

I haven't been following this case. I didn't mean to, anyway. But it was everywhere. It was hard not to pick up details. This case was so prevalent online and on television, it just seeped into my consciousness by osmosis. We've all been inundated by this circus for the last 6 weeks. I can't help but notice that the only 12 (well, 14 really) people on earth (slight exaggeration) who weren't bombarded by talking heads and pundits and in-depth analysis of every moment in court were the ones who reached the not guilty verdict. Maybe, just maybe, those jurors were in a better place to view the evidence without bias because they were the only people around whose judgment wasn't clouded by the media frenzy? Maybe cases really shouldn't be, can't be, tried in the media?

This verdict actually kinda restores my faith a little. Because since 2008, the media, Nancy Grace leading the charge, had convicted this woman. They had her practically on the gurney, needle poised above her arm. They splashed really unflattering, prejudicial photos of her everywhere while constantly shedding tears over that beautiful little girl. I thought Casey Anthony's presumption of innocence had died along with her daughter, quite honestly. So I am heartened to see that a jury of 12, uninfluenced by the media frenzy, can still uphold the presumption of innocence and hold the state to its burden. Because that's what this case came down to. The jury refused to convict based on emotion and hunches. They actually insisted on evidence, which is sorely lacking here.

And yet have the Nancy Graces of the world learned anything? Not really. HLN hasn't stopped covering this case yet. CNN and Fox News have still been covering it. And so far I have seen the pundits discussing what went wrong, who is to blame, etc. Geraldo said, in essence, "We all KNOW she's guilty, but knowing it and being able to prove it are two different things." One bold talking head on HLN did suggest that the media itself had a hand in turning Casey Anthony into a celebrity which in turn made it harder for a jury to convict her because juries have a hard time convicting celebrities. But I haven't observed any of them expressing any real respect for the jury's verdict, respect for the legal process, or sense that they themselves are the warped part of the system (as opposed to the jury).

I left for two hours to go to Knitting Club and just got back to find they're still going at it! They're all saying how outrageous this verdict is, how disgusting it is that the defense team had champagne at a bar after the verdict, how obvious it is that Casey is guilty. So, no, I guess they have not learned.  They haven't learned that they don't get to decide before a trial whether the defendant is guilty. They don't get to expect a particular verdict because they have already evaluated the evidence and figured out the correct answer. There is only one way for establishing guilt in this country: a jury trial. And the jury has now spoken.

As a final note, I can't help but think if Nancy Grace is THIS mad, something has gone right in the world.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy your posts. You usually talk about things I'm interested in, and about half the time I agree with you.

I didn't follow the Casey Anthony case closely. But there have been enough media spectacles that have gotten it completely wrong that I will not second-guess the jurors. It does restore some of my faith in humanity.

I couldn't agree more about Nancy Grace. She is evil and annoying. You probably know how wrong she got the Duke Lacrosse case, too.

Why would anybody listen to her? I wouldn't listen to her even if she was right most the time. Why listen to someone who gets so much bass-ackwards?

By the way, I'm hopeful that with the independent DNA report in the Meridith Kercher case, the Italian judiciary will restore a little bit more of my faith in the system.


S said...

I just saw a bystander wail into a t.v. camera, "Were they [the jury] watching the same thing we were?"

Kinda proves my point: No, they weren't. They were only watching the orderly presentation of evidence, not all the rest of the circus.

Now I'm curious what half of what I say you don't agree with... ;)

Anonymous said...

I thought you'd find this quote from a CNN article interesting: "Ashton, speaking with InSession's Beth Karas, said he is convinced there was no evidence that Caylee, 2, died accidentally in 2008."

Ashton is the prosecutor. It seems an odd complaint by the prosecutor, as it seems to imply the defendant has the burden of proof.


S said...

I saw that quote and was, as you might guess, annoyed. Rest assured if a prosecutor said something like that in a closing argument, I would challenge it as misconduct.

The state has to rule out accident; the defense doesn't have to rule it in. Duh.

Rob Osterman said...

I have to admit that I agree that there's something odd in seeing so many people who aren't on the jury insisting that ~they~ know the proper outcome of the case. It led me to ask out loud on Facebook if perhaps the American People are ready to give up trial by jury and demand Trial by Social Media.

And... wow does that thought make Canada look good this time of year....

S said...

One of my friends recommended we make the justice system a reality show with internet voting. But that's how we wound up with Taylor Swift, so I'm not a fan of that option.

Anonymous said...

It feels like blood lust, and not just in this case. It clearly is not coming from any kind of compassion for the victim.

People used to be satisfied with the adage that it is better to let 10 guilty people go free, than to convict one innocent.

Now it seems they scream for blood.

I find it frightening, but I haven't been able to decide if it is just a tiny vocal minority that gets attention.


Rob Osterman said...

There was an age in this country where if you didn't like a verdict you got some friends together and you took care of Justice. From the sounds of social media we're headed there again. But it begs the question: Will anyone actually do this? Or is it just that "easy" to bluster and blow from the privacy of our homes and the comfort of our computer chairs?

If we actually have to get up and ~do~ something, like go to our congressman's office, or circle a petition, how fast does that fury die off?

Nevermind the sad death of "Presumption of Innocence". There is a Facebook group called "Guilty until Proven Innocent". It has, as of now, exactly 1 like. Perhaps there's hope

S said...

I seriously doubt anyone would go after her in a premeditated fashion. It's easy to bluster, but far harder to pull a trigger. What I think could happen easily, though, is that a scene could get very ugly if she is spotted in public.

There is now a petition circulating to promote "Caylee's Law". I hope that furor dies down soon because that particular proposed law is a ridiculous idea.

BellsforStacy said...

What's ridiculous about Caylee's law? I haven't researched it, but I think it's a good idea to make it unlawful to not report your children missing.

S said...

My bigger beef about Caylee's Law (I've been working on a post, but just haven't finished it) relates to the criminalization of not reporting a child's death within 1 hour. I can only imagine plenty of distraught parents might find a dead, obviously unrevivable child and be so consumed by grief that they might sit there, holding the child for far longer than an hour before realizing someone needs to be called.

I also have concerns about criminalizing not involving the police when a child goes missing. With so many shared custody families, how many misunderstandings will be reported to police? How many people with runaway children won't want to involve the police because they know better how and where to find their children or know that a cooling-off period of more than 24 hours is what is most needed?

And then there's the big one: if the parent is the one responsible for the child's disappearance or death, are we now criminalizing the failure to incriminate oneself?

I just don't think this proposed law would do anything to make children any safer. I'm not a big fan of adding more criminal laws. And the parents who don't report, well, our problem with them really isn't that they didn't report, now is it? It's that they did something to the kid most likely. So let's focus on that behavior.

BellsforStacy said...

That's true. I hadn't thought of the criminalizing themselves part. I mean if they were breaking the law earlier what would stop them from breaking this new law?


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