Friday, May 27, 2011

What I Know About Lady Justice

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been following the Casey Anthony trial pretty darn closely.  The reasons for this are twofold.  It's a local case, happening about 10 miles from where I sit typing this post right now.  Also, I've come to love law and the intricacies of our judicial system.  And then there's the added bonus that this trial has turned out to be much juicier than anything we've seen yet this millennium.  The only thing I can really compare it to was the Menedez brothers case back in the 90's.  Even that isn't a fair comparison because that case was about two men killing their parents.  This is about one (very pretty) young woman allegedly killing her own (adorable) toddler.

You could ask anyone in the Orlando area if they know about Casey Anthony, and the answer would be a resounding yes.  Not only does everyone know about it, every has already made up their mind as to her guilt or innocence.  My not at all scientific conclusion is that probably 98% of people believe she's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The beauty of (or fallacy of) the judicial system in America is that all the defense has to do is introduce reasonable doubt into the mind of (in Florida--other states have different rules for producing a verdict) one lone juror.  If the prosecution can't prove beyond reasonable doubt for every single person in the jury box that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter Caylee, then Casey cannot be found guilty.  First degree murder means that the act was premeditated with malice aforethought.  In layman's terms, it was maliciously planned and carried out.

I consider myself in the lowly 2% of the population that are withholding judgment against Casey Anthony at this point.  Yes, Caylee is no longer with us and that is an awful tragedy.  I absolutely believe that Casey Anthony had something to do with her death.  Did she intentionally plan out her own child's murder?  I can't be sure of that.  If I were on the jury, at this point in the trial, I would be the one lone juror who had a reasonable doubt.

I would have never, however, been selected for the jury, had I been called to serve.  A part of me feels sorry for Casey Anthony, and I felt that way before the defense dropped the bomb in their opening statement that her father and brother allegedly sexually abused her.  I think she's a girl who has some serious mental and emotional issues that predate any of the events surrounding Caylee's birth, life or death.  That doesn't mean that I couldn't find her guilty if the state's evidence and testimony supported their case.  It just means that I think Casey Anthony's whole existence has been somewhat tragic.

Getting a fair trial in the midst of the frenzy of media coverage this case has gotten will be extremely difficult.  The American justice system was created and put into practice in a time when those in charge couldn't even dream of television, internet, cell phones, satellites and the like.  The system was never perfect, and even less so in the present day.  I still believe in Lady Justice, though.  I believe in the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  I believe in the death penalty for those found guilty of heinous crimes by a jury of their peers.  I believe in the prosecution's burden of proof.  Because of, and in spite of, all this, I hope that Casey Anthony gets a fair trial, for the sake of Caylee's memory.  The person who deserves justice more than anyone is that little girl who didn't get to experience the life she should have.

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