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And Finally…

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Well, the ms went back yesterday–hard copy UPS, electronic copies of corrections in the e-mail.  I spent all night having weird dreams about how my back yard–a flat, straight expanse that runs down to a brook–was really hilly and hard to walk on and full of logs with their bark stripped.

There was always some guy knocking on a back door that doesn’t exist to see if he could have the wood.  I was always coming out of the back door that does exist and telling him he was welcome.

I have no idea what any of that means, although there is a pile of wood out there, near the garage, from when we trimmed the bushes on either side of the front porch steps.  They needed a lot of trimming.  The forest was on the verge of taking back it’s own.

Still, I have no idea what it means, and I suspect it’s just a variation of my usual mental state after finishing a project.  I get sort of floaty and disoriented, as if the world isn’t working right.

This morning I even managed to oversleep the alarm clock until eight.  I’m not going to make sense at all today.

Yesterday, though, didn’t make a lot of sense either.  I get up very early to work, so I was done early, and out and doing errands before eight thirty.  By the time I got home I was exhausted, and it was barely even lunchtime.

So I sort of drifted around the house, and when I finally felt half awake, the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial came in.

Now, to be reasonable here for a minute or two:  I do understand that the public reports of a trial are not the same thing as the trial, and that what we see on television is not what the jury sees in real time in the courtroom.  It’s not really all that surprising that the verdicts that come in are often not what we expected them to be.

There’s also the problem caused by that endless series of commentators.  Even TruTV, which used to be CourtTV, and which broadcasts trials in their entirety, tends to use the time when the court breaks for lunch or the lawyers ate at the bench whispering to the judge to bring on legal experts to discuss what’s happening, which usually comes down to telling the audience what they should think about what’s happening.

The legal experts were close to unanimous in this case–it looked to them as if Casey Anthony would end up guilty on at least one of the murder counts.  There was a weight of opinion out there that the only real question was whether Casey Anthony would get the death penalty.

I didn’t watch the trial in real time on TruTV, which stayed in session right through the Fourth of July week-end, including Saturday, Sunday, and the fourth itself.

In fact, the Anthony trial was in session at least on Saturdays for a couple of weeks–is this something new in Florida, or did the court make some kind of exception for this trial in particular?  I’m sure most trials, even of heinous serial murderers, would not be in session on July 4th.

At any rate, I didn’t watch the trial in real time.  I had work to do.  What I did do was watch the closing statements and the prosecution’s rebuttal.

And I will say that, from what I saw there, I was surprised at the verdict. 

I am not one of those people who yelled and screamed that the O.J. verdict was all about race.  I think Johnny Cochrane was right–if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.  That needn’t have been the case, but the prosecution made such a big deal (beforehand) about how important a piece of evidence the glove was. 

Right after they did that, and O.J. stood up and couldn’t get the glove over his hand, my father called me from Florida and yelled for six straight minutes about what an idiot the prosecutor was.

Yesterday, the jurors weren’t talking to the press, which is of course their perogative.  I expect that sometime in the future one or more of them will agree to talk to one of the true crime shows.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not a little worried, at the moment, at being attacked by outraged members of the public.

Certainly there’s enough outrage out there.  Last night there was a “put your front porch light on for justice for Caylee Anthony” thing going on, and my sister in law was among the most enthusiastic participants.

Casey Anthony, in the meantime, will very soon be free.  She’s been in jail for almost three years.  The counts on which she was convicted–four of giving false information to a police officer–carry only up to a single year each.   The only reason the judge shouldn’t release her immediately when she comes up for sentencing tomorrow would be if he didn’t agree with the verdict either.  Even if he does send her to jail, it can only be for a few more months.

What’s interesting to me about all this is this–there were 10 counts for the jury to consider, four murder counts, one count of aggravated manslaughter, one count of aggravated child abuse, and four counts of lying to a police officer.

The jury deliberated for ten hours.  That was it. 

Given the enormous complications in this case, I expected them to be out for a week.  The press expected them to be out for an hour and then back with a guilty verdict.

The only way the jury came back so quickly with acquittals is if the jurors didn’t believe the prosecution at all.  And I mean at all.

And they didn’t believe the prosecution in spite of the fact that Casey Anthony herself seemed to have spent much of the investigation trying to end up in the electric chair.  There were so many different lies, so many different evasions, so much crazy behavior–at one point, Casey told her parents that she had a rich boyfriend in Jacksonville and she was taking Caylee with her to see him on a long weekend.  The boyfriend never existed and Caylee was already dead.

At the trial, the defense seemed to me to be doing the real world equivalent of a mystery writer’s “throw garbage at it”–they came up with scenario after scenario, speculation after speculation, and threw in the “Casey’s father sexually abused her when she was a child thing” just for good measure.

The result, of course, is that Casey and her parents are now estranged, and may be for ever afterwards.

It was, to say the least, a very strange case. 

And I don’t know what to make of it, even now that I’m reasonably awake.

Written by janeh

July 6th, 2011 at 9:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'And Finally…'

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  1. What the TV shows like Law & Order won’t emphasize, and most people don’t know is that opening and closing arguments are NOT EVIDENCE. Lawyers on either side can claim in closing that they’ve proved X, Y, or Z, when none of those was even testified to. Closing arguments, in fact, are entirely irrelevant to the state’s case, or the defense, for that matter. It’s a last opportunity for lawyers who don’t have the evidence on their side to pound on the table and hope histrionics will carry the jury away. Sadly, this often works.

    The press has a lot to answer for in stirring up animosity toward someone who, remember, was supposed to be innocent until proven otherwise. I am apparently one of only 3 people who hadn’t even heard of this case until a few days ago. But it seems clear that the prosecution brought a pathetic case. Most juries, given the flimsiest of excuses, would convict in far less than 10 hours in a case of child-murder. It’s one of those awful crimes that horrify people, and “beyond a reasonable doubt” becomes a much lower standard than you’d expect.

    I’m surprised the prosecution brought such a loser of a case, but it shows that in this case, and in many cases, what they depended upon for the conviction wasn’t evidence, but showmanship. I applaud the jury for standing their ground and saying “the state didn’t prove their case.”

    Which is not the same as “she’s not guilty.” But it is the state’s job to make a solid case. They didn’t do it.

    Lymaree

    6 Jul 11 at 11:58 am

  2. I didn’t follow the case in detail. In fact I was a little surprised that there WAS a trial. I thought it was settled some time back. But..
    She wsn’t charged with Being A Really Bad Mother, Embarassing the Species or Knowing More Than She Lets On. Lying to the police, certainly. But she was convicted of that.
    Guilty of murder? Probably. But I never heard mention of physical evidence or eye-witness testimony which connected her with the murder rather than a cover-up. And she never confessed. “Probably” just isn’t good enough. It makes you long for a Scots verdict (“Not Proven”)option.
    Now, if she were kidnapped next week and had her tubes tied, I wouldn’t want the state to spend a lot of time and effort tracking down the perpetrators.

    And–my standard gripe–I’d like to note that years to prepare and weeks to try is not the justice we were promised in the Constitution.

    robert_piepenbrink

    6 Jul 11 at 5:46 pm

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