Gavel, Hammer, Judge's Gavel

Reflections on the Casey Anthony Case

I did not follow the Casey Anthony case. There are limited hours in the day. There is a lot of news to look at. I prioritize what I pay attention to. I attempt to follow major issues. Beyond those major issues, if there is time, I like to read news that is light or uplifting.

Many days, I barely have enough time to read about things like the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the situation in the Middle East, the price of oil, the state of the economy, how the debt ceiling is being addressed, etc.

To me, the trial of Casey Anthony did not fall into the major issue category. Please do not get me wrong. I know that her daughter, Caylee Anthony, died. I find death sad. I know I am not alone. I find the death of a young child tragic. Here too, I know I am not alone. And yes, I realize Casey Anthony was being tried for the murder of her daughter.

How many murders take place in the United States every year? How many children are killed or go missing? How many crimes take place in America each year? How much barbarity is suffered by individuals and families time and time again?

I have no issue with people following a murder case. However, it seems to me that some cases get disproportionately greater coverage than others. Consequently, they are more widely followed. Some people might argue with me that people’s interest in a case generates the type of coverage it gets. In this case, I would argue that the media, for the most part, created the interest.

In any event, the Casey Anthony case got lots of coverage and had lots of followers. Like I said, I did not follow the case. But after it was over, people’s reaction to it seemed inescapable.

I am not a lawyer, but the way I see it a courtroom is supposed to be a laboratory of justice. The goal is to strive to find the truth, in a given matter, so blame can be assigned and punishment can be meted out. This is a tough task. Our system of jurisprudence is not perfect. At times, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit and guilty people go free.

Safeguards are built into criminal trials in the United States. The burden of proving a case falls to the prosecution. An individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty. At least that is what I was taught in school.

When a jury renders a verdict, they can find a person guilty or not guilty. The word innocent is not used. A finding of not guilty means the jury, after sitting through an entire trial, considered what it heard and came to the conclusion that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof.

What amazes me is how people became so wrapped up in the Casey Anthony trial. Some people’s level of emotional investment is simply astonishing. Worse yet, it is as if this murder trial had been taken as the ultimate reality show. That is a sad thing, a tragic thing.

Assigning blame for the death of a child should not be looked at like a game show or sporting event.

Juries have to spend lots of time sitting and listening to all kinds of information about a trial. They do more than listen. They watch. They watch in a way that people viewing via television cannot.

Did the jury come to the right conclusion in this case? I have no clue. What I do know is that they sat in a courtroom and were party to a process in a way that TV viewers and pundits were not. The jurors did their civic duty.

Perhaps, society would be better off if all the people who had so much time to spend on the Casey Anthony case would begin to contact their political representatives about dealing with the debt ceiling and federal budget deficit.

The only people who really know what happened to Caylee Anthony were the people or person around her when she was injured and died. In the case of the debt ceiling and deficit, I think we all know what will happen if action is not taken quickly.

Maybe the lesson here is that if we have extra time to invest in current events, it would be better off if we focused on things we could have impact on. Judges and juries make decisions on cases. The people of the nation, however, get to vote and write their elected officials.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

CYInterview’s recent interview with Gloria Allred on Casey Anthony case here.

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