As a crime reporter, I watched the Casey Anthony trial with interest, but was not overly surprised by the verdict as so many seem to be. Sorry, Nancy Grace, but you should have known better. More time listening and less time screaming your opinion at others may have been beneficial.
For those who are unaware, Casey Anthony was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee a few years back. A body wasnâ€™t found until months afterward, but the most suspicious act by Anthony was that she didnâ€™t report her daughter missing for 31 days, later telling authorities the child was supposedly with a fictional nanny, then stating the child drowned and her father disposed of the body. There are pictures of her partying and playing just days after the alleged date of death or disappearance.
Anthony was acquitted Tuesday of the murder and neglect charges. The jury came back with guilty verdicts on four counts of lying to police.
Hoards of people are angry that Anthony wasnâ€™t convicted, but I think the jury did a good job going against every natural instinct to react with anger at the death of a child and instead taking a serious look at the evidence available. In other words, they did what the judge instructed them to do â€” weighed the evidence and kept in mind the term â€œbeyond a reasonable doubt.â€ I respect them for that. The evidence was pretty sketchy.
Iâ€™m not going to say the defense did a good job, though. I think they managed to prevail despite themselves. They muddied the waters with allegations of sexual abuse toward Casey by her father and brother, then tossed in some razzle-dazzle.
The burden of proof was on the prosecution, and quite frankly, they didnâ€™t have any.
Overnight, a myriad of websites popped up with petitions to enact â€œCayleeâ€™s Law,â€ which would make it â€” depending on which petition you read â€” illegal to cover up a death, to not report a death, to profit from the death through book deals, movies or the talk show circuit, or to not report a missing child within one hour of discovering the child missing.
â€œThis way there will be no more cases like Casey Anthonyâ€™s in the courts, and no more innocent children will have to go without justice,â€ one petition states.
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but innocent children go without justice on a daily basis.
This case just happened to capture the nationâ€™s attention. Nancy Grace and her labeling of Anthony as â€œTotMomâ€ didnâ€™t help. Actually, every time Grace spewed out the moniker â€œTotMomâ€ with venom, I found it irritating. And circus-y. And disrespectful to the victim.
The comments on some of the petition sites are interesting in that they show so many sides of peopleâ€™s opinions.
People are just â€œsick, sick, sickâ€ that someone hurt a baby and no one is going to prison. They donâ€™t care about facts or evidence, they just want to hate Anthony.
â€œJustice has not been given to this angel!â€ they say.
â€œCasey Anthony got away with murder,â€ many of them insist.
On the other side of the coin are those who see the sudden demand for a new law as unsettling, probably because it comes out of such strong emotion.
â€œGot to love a vengeance society,â€ one commenter wrote.
â€œIâ€™m glad lynch mobs donâ€™t write the laws,â€ another stated.
This leads us to the crowd who now loves Caylee. Theyâ€™ve never met her, didnâ€™t know she existed until she was long dead, but are now swearing to remember her for the rest of their lives and pray for her daily.
â€œShe would have grown up beautiful and successful,â€ one commenter said.
â€œMay she rest in peace knowing she is loved more now than ever before,â€ another wrote.
For how long? Anthony will be released from jail, and in a year most people wonâ€™t remember the details of the case.
Did Anthony murder her daughter? I doubt it. Neglect her daughter? Probably. Make a mistake in not notifying authorities that her daughter had allegedly drowned in a pool? Definitely.
But law-making decisions shouldnâ€™t be made by mob mentality and knee-jerk reaction. After all, if they passed a law saying people canâ€™t profit from the death of someone else, where would Nancy Grace be?