The shit has hit the fan with the Casey Anthony verdict. Dust storms are covering Phoenix, people are camping in swamps, Twitter is full of anti-Anthony and anti jury sentiments, and Nancy Grace has somehow made it all about herself (again).
Yet, amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth there is a question I would like addressed: Was it the correct verdict?
I want everyone to try something novel. Let's pretend there has been no media coverage regarding Casey Anthony or her poor daughter. Let's pretend we knew nothing about this the day the jury first settles into their seats and hears opening arguments. We're starting with a blank slate.
The prosecution's case: A young, selfish, probably narcissistic, single mother does the unthinkable by not reporting her adorable daughter missing for a month. Police get involved and get strange, conflicting stories from both the mother and the grandparents of the missing girl. In short, the entire family seems a bit damaged.
Eventually the little girl's body is found, shoved in a trash bag and dumped in a swampy area by the side of a road. Cause of death cannot be determined and there is no trace evidence on the body. None.
Obviously the mother and/or grandparents are involved and charges are filed.
Defense's case: They basically take the path of 'throwing as much shit against the wall and see what sticks' method of defending their client. This includes accusations of abuse by the grandparents, a wild story about the accidental drowning of Caylee with Casey's father covering it up by disposing of the body, and something about Casey's brother being involved. She has a brother, right? Hell, it doesn't matter.
Since this is a court of law and you are on the jury, here is all you need to concentrate on: Is there reasonable doubt in your mind that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter. Above is what you have to work with as well as this, tidy list:
DNA evidence on body: none
Cause of death: unknown*
Trace evidence on Casey: none
Actions of mother: suspicious and highly questionable
Knowing nothing going in, do you convict? Do you have reasonable doubt?
As much criticism the media is taking right now, mine is much more direct: Why aren't they asking this question instead of focusing on everyone else's reaction? Why wasn't anyone prepared for this 'shocking' verdict when the physical evidence was so lacking? Why is nobody criticizing the prosecution for not building a better case before taking this to trial?
I said at lunch yesterday that if I were on this jury I would have found her not guilty. This was before the actual verdict was read, so this shouldn't have been a shock to anyone. Especially not the media members who are supposed to report the facts regarding ongoing trials and not be subjective in their coverage.
If I had more eloquence or intelligence I would get into how this is the definitive moment that media has changed forever, but who fucking cares. Everyone is pissed that a murderer is going free; that a little girl is left unspoken for (even if it seems everyone is this morning).
I'm mourning something larger today. For once again truth has been slaughtered; both by the trial and the media coverage. We may now never know what happened to this adorable, tragic little girl. We can all suppose and guess and theorize all we want, but - other than an out of the blue/death bed confession - we will never know what happened to Caylee.
Don't mistake this not guilty verdict for freedom for Casey, either. She will now be living the life of OJ Simpson: Out of jail, but far from free. Tell me one place she could go that would welcome her. Hell, even her own father, mother, and brother appear to have turned their backs on her. After the accusations leveled at them, who can blame them?
Enough of this. I have to go to Hartford, which puts me in moods like this. Carry on.
* Doesn't the lack of fluid in Caylee's lungs disprove the defense's theory that she accidentally drowned? If you had to pinpoint one flaw in the prosecution's case it was the inability to determine cause of death. That would have been a game changer.