Jury fails: no justice for Caylee Marie

Casey Anthony Not Guilty In Slaying of Daughter

The Casey Anthony verdict once again exemplifies our great criminal justice system at work. Twelve ordinary people sit and hear the facts of a case for six weeks and return a verdict that has most of us thinking, if not saying, “WTF?”. We can’t condemn the system that we so vehemently defend when the verdicts don’t go the way that we believe that they should. Or, should we be condemning a system, which is based on principles that some, such as myself, believe are inherently flawed? Principles such as society would rather let a hundred guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man. Good in theory but not when a guilty defendant gets off scot free. I wonder what the Caylee Anthonys of the world would have to say about our wonderful and fair criminal justice system, if only their voices could be heard.

Twelve ordinary people decide the fate of the accused, most probably never having set foot in a court of law, other than maybe traffic court, most having limited knowledge of criminal law, and less about the rules that govern a court proceeding. Do you really think that most jurors know or understand why a prosecutor or defense attorney may stand up and yell “objection” during a witness’s testimony? Do you think they understand the principles of trial law that compel a judge to either sustain or overrule that objection?

I remember the first few times that I testified at trials and hearings. I had no clue what the hell was going. I remember one prosecutor telling me during trial prep to pause before answering questions asked of me by the defense attorney.

“Pause,” I asked, why?”

“I may have an objection and I don’t want you blurting out answers to certain questions that we may not have to answer.”

I was a cop not a lawyer, and I knew nothing of trial law. I read up on it and asked questions, and eventually I got to the point where I knew while the question was still being asked that it was going to be objected to. Yet we expect these twelve ordinary individuals to decipher all the courtroom mumbo jumbo and listen to all types of testimony, from forensic experts to the defendant’s mother. For six weeks they sit and listen. Then a judge gives them instructions and if they find the defendant guilty, it must be beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard that in my opinion is too high and often not tenable. Trials are no longer about guilt or innocence of the accused. They’re about defense attorneys who can create the slightest sliver of doubt in a juror’s mind, a doubt that at times can be based on no credible evidence, just on an assumption that an accused wouldn’t have done this or that, or have behaved in a manner so foreign to the rest of us after committing a heinous crime. Why wasn’t there DNA evidence like there is all the time on TV? Can’t ANY doubt be considered reasonable? If the defendant is guilty, why isn’t there 100% proof? It’s about emotion rather than facts.

Is it time that we change the current standard of guilt in criminal trials from beyond a reasonable doubt to the standard used in civil cases, preponderance of the evidence? Why, in a democratic society where majority rules, do we use a different standard in criminal trials? Why must a jury’s verdict be unanimous? The Supreme Court of the United States of America isn’t held to the same unanimous standard when deciding issues that affect a larger portion of the American public in ways more profound than the murder of a little girl.

So if Casey Anthony didn’t kill her daughter, who did? Someone murdered that little girl, and since no one else will ever be charged with the crime, no one will ever be held responsible for her death. There is, and will be, no justice for Caylee Marie.

5 responses to “Jury fails: no justice for Caylee Marie

  1. Not having paid attention to much of the trial, I’ve been pretty sure all along that Casey is guilty, but I think “reasonable doubt” is a good standard. To play the devil’s advocate, let’s say Casey’s innocent. How do you suppose Caylee would feel if her mother were to be wrongfully executed, and the real murderer were to go free? Justice served? Innocent people still get convicted, imprisoned, and executed, and guilty people still go free, but I think this is almost as good as it gets.
    “Why, in a democratic society where majority rules, do we use a different standard in criminal trials?” The U. S. is not a democracy; it’s a republic. The majority does not rule, except in referendum matters, which are subject to being overturned. This certainly pisses off the majority, but it’s part of the same constitution that gives the majority any voice at all.

  2. The US *is* a democracy – it’s a representative democracy where the people elect representatives and those representatives make the laws. The majority rules in presidential, congressional and local elections. The majority rules when it comes to Supreme Court decisions. The majority rules when it comes to votes in Congress. Our society is based on the concept of majority rule with protections for the minority.

    Sure, the system is okay if you stand back and look at it from a distance. But it’s not okay if you’re Caylee, a child who trusts her mother unconditionally even as she suffocates the life out of her. It’s not okay when you’ve been raped by a cop that you trusted to help you and a jury disregards your story because there wasn’t any DNA. It’s not okay when you’re holding sobbing, grieving parents whose child has been murdered and trying to comfort them even though no one will ever be held accountable for the crime. It’s not okay when you’re the one looking at a baby who’s been starved to death by her drug addicted mother. But maybe I shouldn’t expect people who haven’t seen what I’ve seen to understand why it is so difficult for me to think our justice system works great.

  3. I didn’t say it works great. I said it’s almost as good as it gets. It’s far from perfect, but history hasn’t shown us anything better.

    Have you ever comforted the family of an innocent person who was lawfully convicted and executed? Is that a better, more just death because it’s legal and sanitary? That death is not OK either, and it’s compounded by the fact that the guilty party had never been held accountable.

    Our justice system is badly abused by sleazy manipulation; all systems are. That’s human nature. The abuse of most, if not all other systems has led to far more tragedy and injustice than the abuse of this one.

    The U.S. is a republic based on democratic principles. If it were a representative democracy, the supreme court would not have the power to overturn laws; the majority, even by representation, would rule absolutely. It doesn’t. The fact that your experience affects you so deeply (as it certainly should) is an excellent illustration of why we are a republic instead of a democracy. Laws should not be made, enforced, or interpreted, by the emotions of the majority.

  4. Go back 20-30 years and cite the cases were innocent individuals were convicted and executed in our country. You do know that the movie the “Green Mile” was a work of fiction.

    The U.S Supreme Court: Try Casey Anthony in Federal Court
    If this case is brought before the Federal court it will be an exception to double jeopardy and from the moment Casey Anthony lied to the FBI she was in violation of The Martha Stewart law. This is a federal offense and comes with a 5 year sentence for each count. First Degree Murder is also a federal offense! Please we must not let this crime go unpunished. An injustice was committed on July 15th. Sign this petition and give Caylee the justice she deserves.
    Find this petition @ change.org/petitions/the-us-supreme-court-try-casey-anthony-in-federal-court
    Caylee’s Law should reach 1 million signatures by the end of the weekend and with your help taking Casey Anthony to Federal Court will be possible!!!

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