Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict

It's been interesting to me to listen, read, and watch the reactions to the Casey Anthony verdict.  Everyone, from the casual observer, to the court news junkie, has an opinion.

Regardless of your opinion of the result, there are several things to take away from this.

1.  We have a flawed legal system, no doubt.  And yet, it is the best in the world.  If I am ever in a situation where I have to personally confront the legal system, there is no other country in the world I'd rather it be.

2.  You have to hand it to the defense attorneys.  They had a difficult case, a client absolutely hated by the public, a heinous crime, and yet, they were able to pull it off.

3.  The legal standard to keep in mind is "reasonable doubt."  The defense does not have to prove that the defendant did not do it.  They only have to show that there is some doubt, some reasonable doubt, that the defendant did it.  The prosecution has to prove the case to a very high standard, such that by the time the prosecution is done, the jury sees there is no reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty.  Yes, I know that we're talking about a mushy, subjective standard, but that's the system we have.

4.  Let's face it, the only reason people are upset with the verdict is because they don't agree with it.  I'm not sure, were I ever charged with a crime, that I would want the public at large to decide my fate.  In some places they call that an angry mob. 

5.  Finally, remember another side effect of this trial.  Every time a supposed guilty person goes free (then again, if a jury says they're not guilty, are they? Doesn't the same hold true if they were to find her guilty) the prosecution has learned a valuable lesson.  They have been beat back, and in this case, publicly.  The idea is that the next time they bring a charge, they will be that much more prepared.  The next time the police question a suspect, they should be that much more careful.  The next time the evidence technicians process a scene, they will take that much more care. 

That's the way the system is supposed to work.  Whether we like it or not.


Ed Skinner said...

Justice will ultimately be served in that the family is now sentenced to live out their personal Hell for what they did, and did not, do.

Meagan said...

We are little children: we want the system to go the way we think it should, and when it doesn't, we say, "But that's not FAIR."

TOTWTYTR said...

As I was told a long time ago, the system is designed to produce equality of process, not a equality of outcome.

From some of the ignorant remarks I've read in various places, the DA is incompetent, the jury is comprised of morons, we should have trials by judges, not juries, and "everyone knows she did it".

The jury followed the instructions from the judge and found that the state has not proved it's case. While people might not like the outcome, they'd want the same process if they were the ones in the dock.

minimedic said...

A good family friend of ours is a criminal defense lawyer, and he's also gotten the so-called "guilty" people acquitted on technicalities and whatnot. Many people have asked him "Why?" and he says, "I will defend my clients to the best of my ability, as that is what they are entitled to when I am appointed their laywer."

Anonymous said...

You, of course, are absolutely correct that the prosecution could not remove 'reasonable doubt' from the minds of the jurors and in my (humble) opinion, the jurors did the only thing they could do. They pronounced her not guilty.

However, have you ever known a village opinion of a resident to be wrong when the facts are known? From all I read and could see from the 'facts' presented, she is guilty. Just as guilty as OJ. But the jury did their job and I am so glad that the instructions they received were taken seriously. It gives me hope that our legal system functions - at least in the courts.

Oh for an omniscient legal system! But we do what we can.