An unpopular verdict

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 wasn’t found until months afterward, but the most suspicious act by Anthony was that she didn’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 wasn’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 — weighed the evidence and kept in mind the term “beyond a reasonable doubt.” I respect them for that. The evidence was pretty sketchy.

I’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 didn’t have any.

Overnight, a myriad of websites popped up with petitions to enact “Caylee’s Law,” which would make it — depending on which petition you read — 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.

“This way there will be no more cases like Casey Anthony’s in the courts, and no more innocent children will have to go without justice,” 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 nation’s attention. Nancy Grace and her labeling of Anthony as “TotMom” didn’t help. Actually, every time Grace spewed out the moniker “TotMom” 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 people’s opinions.

People are just “sick, sick, sick” that someone hurt a baby and no one is going to prison. They don’t care about facts or evidence, they just want to hate Anthony.

“Justice has not been given to this angel!” they say.

“Casey Anthony got away with murder,” 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.

“Got to love a vengeance society,” one commenter wrote.

“I’m glad lynch mobs don’t write the laws,” another stated.

This leads us to the crowd who now loves Caylee. They’ve never met her, didn’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.

“She would have grown up beautiful and successful,” one commenter said.

“May she rest in peace knowing she is loved more now than ever before,” another wrote.

For how long? Anthony will be released from jail, and in a year most people won’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 shouldn’t be made by mob mentality and knee-jerk reaction. After all, if they passed a law saying people can’t profit from the death of someone else, where would Nancy Grace be?

One thought on “An unpopular verdict

  1. I agree, Justine! A very good blog. I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading these, but as I have plenty of time on my underworked little hands, there’s no excuse anymore.

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