Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh the Followers I Will Lose...

While the entire world yesterday blew up at the Casey Anthony verdict, I applauded the jury.  Not the verdict necessarily, but their ability to follow the law and the jury instructions in the face of the outrage that they knew would come.

For the record, let me say that I didn't watch a single minute of testimony or hear a word of the opening statements and closing arguments.  What I did catch was the media frenzy for the past six weeks and legal commentators swearing that there was no way that she was going to be found not guilty.  Not to mention the constant barrage against her attorney who has virtually no experience. (Sidenote: I've been practicing as long as Baez has, and there's no way in the world I'd be prepared to handle that defense.)

As a criminal defense attorney myself, I've seen clients get convicted of things that I knew they didn't do and clients get off for crimes that I knew they committed.  It's the way the system works.  It's at the same time the most frustrating thing about it and the beauty of it.

The purpose of the jury is to judge whether or not the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Its job is NOT to provide "justice" for the victim.

The words "beyond a reasonable doubt" tend to get lost in the rhetoric, but they are the most important words in this whole process.  It makes me shudder to imagine a court where the standard of proof that the state has to prove is anything less than "reasonable doubt."  I say it every time I'm in front of a jury or judge-- the "reasonable doubt" standard is the highest standard in American jurisprudence.  And it's that way by design.  We absolutely should not tolerate the state having the authority to imprison (not to mention end the life of) a defendant without proving their case to such a standard.  To lower that standard and find Casey guilty because the public and media "knew" she committed the crime would have been cowardly of those jurors and a miscarriage of justice.

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." -- U.S. Constitution, Fifth Amendment

12 comments:

  1. great post. I 100% agree. I was actually happy to see the verdict even though personally I feel she did the crime (just a feeling though; not based on fact).
    Gordon

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  2. Great post. I believe she did it, however I agree with what you said. The jury did a great job under the circumstances.

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  3. Oh Katie, I just love you. Ppl would be dumb to unfollow you for this because you make some terrific points-guilty or not there was not enough evidence. I just hate that even though there isn't the evidence now, even if they get it later she can't pay for the crime if she committed it.I wish I lived closer to you so you could help me understand more of this:) have a great day pretty girl!

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  4. Oh well if you lose followers. You don't want them if they aren't open to hearing different opinions! I agree w/ you. The system will never be perfect but it is good when it works the right way. The jury finding her not guilty does not mean she is innocent. It just means the attorneys didn't prove she was guilty. I still think she did it but I also believe she will get what she deserves. . .you know what they say, karma is a bitch!!!!

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  5. Good post girl, and who cares if you lose followers :) I agree with you. I feel that she did do it, so I was hoping she'd get convicted of something, but I totally agree. All the jury did was obey the constitution. They did a much better job than I could have, I'm sure.

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  6. I totally agree with your opinion of our legal system and the responsibility of the jury. I have served on two juries so I understand that the media version of the facts of any case is not an accurate representation of everything a jury must consider in deliberations. The law and the evidence, not personal opinion, must be the basis for any just verdict.

    But, as someone who followed this case pretty closely, saw most of the testimony and all of the closing argument and rebuttal, I do not understand the jury’s assertion that the prosecution didn’t provide sufficient evidence and more specifically, did not prove cause of death or establish motive. What? Apparently, the jurors slept or daydreamed during some very important testimony and introduction of evidence. The inability to prove a conclusive cause of death (rendered impossible due extensive decomposition and an incomplete autopsy) does not negate all other evidence proving that this child was murdered and at whose hand. True, some of the forensic evidence related to the items (including hair and air samples) gathered from the trunk were weak and arguably unreliable (conflicting expert testimony) but not to the exclusion of any forensic evidence. But, circumstantial evidence abounded and very clearly established motive (although motive is not required for a guilty verdict) and guilt.

    It is true that convicting someone of murder one would be a very difficult decision. But it wasn’t an automatic death sentence (as some in the media have inferred in their comments explaining the failure to convict). In fact, had she been found guilty, the jury would have made a recommendation to the judge as to a life or death sentence. But, murder one was not the only option and yet the jury concluded that the evidence was not sufficient to prove guilt of anything other than lying to police.

    The jury obviously recognized the weight of public scrutiny of this case and their verdict and as a result, set the bar of “reasonable doubt” very high. They wanted a “smoking gun” w/ fingerprints and matching ballistics (figuratively). But, their desire for this type of evidence apparently inhibited their ability to recognize, interpret and properly value all other evidence.

    As a child, I loved connecting the dots to reveal hidden images. Unfortunately, this jury was not able to connect the dots in a way that provided them a clear image of guilt. But in my opinion, prosecution presented a clear and convincing case. Kudos to the defense who effectively used a strategy of “confuse the jurors.”

    Your very proud mother…

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  7. What a very intelligent and well-written post. Happy to hear that there are people out there not caught up in the dramatized media version of the whole thing. :)

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  8. I actually really agree with you. While I'm really not sure if I believe she is guilty or not guilty, there was no CLEAR evidence that she murdered Caylee. And after taking a Business Law course last semester and trying to remember all that I learned, it's obvious that the prosecution really did not have a firm argument against her, unfortunately. I feel sorry for little Caylee that there was no true result in this case, but I'm also angry because someone is guilty and this case unfortunately did nothing to help solve that. I'm anxious to see what her sentencing will be...

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  9. I'm not following your blog anymore.....

    Just kidding! Very well written indeed. I don't know enough of the facts to make any type of opinion or judgement of her innocence, but I totally agree with your points. :)

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  10. I'm glad you put this out there! My husband was saying the same thing - if it can't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then the jury has the responsibility to uphold that. I didn't pay attention to the trial at all, but I appreciate both viewpoints.

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  11. You won't lose me as a follower! The justice system was at work here, and the jury did what they were supposed to do! Good post.

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  12. It was very refreshing to read this post and see the comments that followed. Those that say the judicial system 'failed' don't understand the judicial system at all! If you lost any followers just know that you gained at least one as well ;)

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