Debate Forum Topic, 7/19/11

Was justice served?

"No, I'm supposed to wear the blindfold!" by Glenn McCoy

Did she get away with murder? After six long — and at times, bizarre — weeks of testimony, Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of murdering 2-year-old daughter Caylee. The jury did find her guilty of a crime of lying to the police. The reaction to the jury’s verdict has been one of disbelief and shock. A 2-year-old child is dead and the jury’s verdict has freed the person who most believe committed the crime — her mother. The prosecution had a difficult task in seeking conviction for capital murder. There was no eyewitness that Anthony murdered her daughter. Neither was there DNA evidence linking Anthony to the crime. In reality, the prosecution was working without any direct evidence that Anthony had caused the death of her daughter. Anthony’s odd behavior was suggestive of a callous and uncaring mother, and her lies certainly made her look like she was guilty. But using a combination of forensic and circumstantial evidence was not convincing enough for the jury to find Anthony guilty of a crime for which she could be put to death. The defense scenario, that young Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool and Anthony and her father tried to cover it up, seems to have been regarded plausible enough to sow reasonable doubt.

Part of the reason for the public reacting so violently to the verdict comes from the behavior that Anthony demonstrated after the disappearance of Caylee. The bizarre behavior demonstrated by Anthony in the time between when Caylee vanished and when her body was found, was one of seeming unconcern. The implications were mindboggling. The thought that a young mother killed her little daughter in order to once again live the carefree lifestyle of a single woman was upsetting to some. The entire dysfunctioning Anthony family, with accusations of incest and attempted incest, contributed to the strong public reaction to the not guilty verdict.

In a capital murder case, the state has to prove a case of premeditated murder. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a murder occurred and that the person causing the death of the other person did so with malice and forethought. The case against Anthony was built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Despite that fact, some observers believed that when considered carefully, the totality of the evidence was enough to convict Anthony of murder.

In the end, the jury decided that there was no evidence of premeditation or intent to murder her child. In fact, the jury found that the state even failed to prove that Anthony, herself, committed the murder or was even present when her daughter died. Having failed to prove these essential elements of the crime, the jury, in a rather short period of deliberation, found Anthony not guilty of killing her daughter.

“Was the jury correct in acquitting Casey Anthony?”

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